A federal judge found unconstitutional a heightened-security area proposed to surround the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, saying the 3.5 square mile "event zone" unfairly restricted free speech.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin stated the event zone was "unduly large," siding with the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the suit on behalf of protesters.
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The City of Cleveland said it will appeal the decision, but the ACLU is hoping for a compromise ahead of the convention. Christine Link, the executive director of ACLU of Ohio, said the "clock was ticking" for civil liberties advocates and the city to negotiate an agreeable security buffer for the convention.
Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone wrote for the Trump-friendly site Breitbart that the stage is set for fireworks at the convention, accusing the City of Cleveland of "purposefully creating a powder keg" by putting anti-Trump protesters in close proximity to convention attendees.
Friction between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protestors has repeatedly led to violence at past rallies. In San Jose, demonstrators attacked Trump fans as they left the convention center, bloodying several of the candidate’s supporters. At a North Carolina rally in early March, a Trump supporter sucker punched a protester as he was being escorted out of the building.
There are 25 days until the GOP convention, which will take place July 18-21