Tennessee Judge nullifies temporary curfew, triumph for Occupy Nashville protesters

The Occupy Wall Street movement has grown over the last few months and it appears to be gaining momentum in the United States as people across the Nation join in on the protests in various states. While the movement rages on strongly in various cities, government
officials have been faced with safety and security concerns in various parts of the country. In reference to that, new laws are passed. However a federal judge in Tennessee made the headlines on Monday, October 31, when she issued a temporary restraining order.

The state did not object to the ruling as the new rules passed in Nashville were temporarily curtailed by the Court of Law. The rules were directed at arresting Occupy protestors in Nashville, who were rallying on the Legislative Plaza.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee fought the law, claiming it to be an infringement of the protesters’ First Amendment Rights. The Unions request for the temporary restraint of the ruling was not contested by the states and U.S. District
Judge, Aleta A. Trauger, wasted no time in obliging with the request.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director at the ACLU in Tennessee, was quick to issue her statement on the ruling that had been claimed as a victory for the protestors.

"Political expression deserves the highest level of protection and it was unacceptable for the state to suddenly shut down protesters’ speech and forcibly oust them from Legislative Plaza that has long been used as a place for peaceful expression," said
Hedy Weinberg.

"The state conceded that the temporary restraining order should be issued and we hope that this is the first step (that) the state is recommitting itself to safeguarding – not thwarting – public political expression," she added.

The State’s Assistant Attorney General Bill Marett expressed his compliance with the ruling.

“The state will not enforce the policy that is at issue.”

The rules were enforced by the Governer Bill Haslam who pointed at safety and sanitation concerns at the Legislative Plaza. 50 arrests were made in the early hours of Friday and Saturday, following the law’s imposition. Protestors had refused to leave the
facility at the time.  

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