Florence protesters say police restrictions infringe on First Amendment rights

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FLORENCE, Ala. — Protesters in Florence are responding to a recent police mandate that would limit where demonstrations can occur downtown.

The mandate states that protesters are to remain south of Tennessee Street and west of South Court Street on the courthouse side.

The same goes for counter-protesters except they must remain east of South Court Street. No protesting is allowed from Tennessee to Tuscaloosa Streets which has been restricted to business and restaurant patrons only.

Project Say Something Founder Camille Bennett said the limitations are a violation of First Amendment rights.

“We definitely spent as much time as we could getting legal counsel, speaking to as many attorneys as we could to understand what we could and couldn’t do and then from there, made the choice to go downtown for silent protests with signs,” Bennett said.

Bennett said Project Say Something protesters were not met with police action for going into the business district but remained silent to observe the city noise ordinance.

Another “Occupy Downtown” demonstration is planned for Friday.

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