Occupy Iowa Will Seek Permit To Protest On Capitol Grounds

This seems like a smart, pragmatic decision on the part of the Occupy Iowa movement.  Apparently, the consensus process [see video] they have been using for decision-making works quite well ….Democrats may want to consider dumping parliamentary procedure and adopt it.  But whether a Terry “it’s-not-meant-to-be-a-place-to-camp-out-overnight” Branstad administration will actually grant a permit seems iffy.

The Des Moines Register has decent coverage today about what happened last night (Monday). About a hundred protestors were there. They moved across the street at 11:00 and no one was arrested. Those arrested Sunday night will seek jury trials. This is seen by the lawyers as a way to have a community conversation about first amendment and constitutional rights to demonstrate.

Here are some excerpts of the DMR article, but recommend you read the entire article and see the video of last night’s happenings.


Protesters decided Monday to seek a permit to stay on the State Capitol grounds so they do not have to continually challenge the state’s 11 p.m. curfew for gathering on the Capitol grounds.

Some have argued that the limitations on the meeting violated protesters’ First Amendment rights to assembly and petition. Troopers were also accused of using excessive force, although officials including Gov. Terry Branstad defended their actions.

Sally Frank, a Drake University law professor who observed the protest Sunday night and offered legal advice to those arrested, said thirty-seven people were arrested, including two juveniles.

“I think that in cases like this, it’s worth raising these issues and letting a jury know what happened, and letting a jury decide,” Frank said. “If the government wants to be oppressive, then the government is going to have to spend the time and energy to try the case, or drop it.”

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright said the Department of Administrative Services could grant a permit.

“If (the department) makes that decision, they’ll be allowed to stay,” Bright said.

Attorneys who advised those arrested urged them to ask for jury trials, because the protesters have a constitutional right to demonstrate, said Frank, the Drake law professor.

Leaders of the national movement have discussed using a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court case that found that protesters have a right to assemble at public parks but do not have a right to sleep there, Frank said.

In Clark vs. Community for Creative Nonviolence, the high court ruled that protesters at a park in Washington, D.C., had a right to pitch tents as part of an ongoing protest, she said.

“The point is to be awake and protesting,” said Frank, who has advised Iowans to take shifts in their protests.

The Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union declined to comment, because it expects to represent some of those arrested.

(click here to read the entire article and view video at DesMoinesRegister.com)


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