Lawsuit: Minneapolis limiting free speech before and after All-Star game


A Minneapolis ordinance limiting other downtown events during the days around baseball's All-Star game is being challenged in court.

The Associated Press reports the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing the city on behalf of the organizers of a one-day street festival planned a few days after the game.

The One Day in July Street Festival commemorates the 80th anniversary of a deadly labor strike in which Minneapolis police killed two Teamsters.

In the ordinance the city council approved in February Minneapolis agrees to create a "clean zone" in an area that includes downtown and part of the University of Minnesota campus. The city says it will not issue permits or licenses for activities in that area during a 15-day period unless Major League Baseball approves.

As KSTP reports, the ordinance affects temporary food and beverage stands, musical performances, signs, and block parties among other activities.

The ACLU-MN argues the ordinance violates the First Amendment by giving Major League Baseball the power to restrain free speech. Executive Director Charles Samuelson says in a statement: "A government body cannot just hand over control of our Constitutional rights to a private company."

A spokesman for the city tells the AP temporary ordinances restricting other activities are a common requirement for cities to host major sports events such as the All-Star game.

One Day in July organizers are considering canceling their July 19 event, the AP says. The All-Star game is on the 15th but the ordinance applies to activities from July 5 through the 20th.

The 1934 clash between striking truck drivers and police is regarded as a turning point in Minnesota labor history. Similar street festivals marking its anniversary were held in 2009 and 2004.

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