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Protesters in Glens Falls sue city

Jun 20, 2020 12:03 am
Wendy Liberatore reports in the Times Union that the American Patriot Express filed a lawsuit this week that seeks to declare a Glens Falls law requiring a permit for rallies and marches with 25 or more people unconstitutional. Protesters angry with President Donald Trump, and others supporting Republican Congressperson Elise Stefanik, have been gathering in downtown Glens Falls for the last few years. The American Patriot Express group are conservatives who favor Trump and Stefanik. “The First Amendment means that people don’t need a government permit before they speak and assemble,” American Patriot Express attorney Adam Giangreco said. “Glens Falls violated this basic constitutional tenant by requiring permits." Senior Judge Lawrence E. Kahn signed an emergency temporary restraining order, keeping the law from being enforced for now. The Times Union says last December the American Patriot Express and the North Country Deplorables used a bullhorn to yell "Go home communists" and "Arrest Obama" at other protesters in Glens Falls who were singing "Silent Night" and calling for Trump's impeachment. So in February Glens Falls Mayor Daniel Hall and a majority of the town board approved a permitting process, which requires 14 days advance notice, but might not be issued for 28 days. "A spontaneous demonstration or protest on a topical issue will almost inevitably attract more participants and more press attention, and generate more emotion, than the ‘same’ speech 28 days later," Giangreco said. "Where spontaneity is part of the message, dissemination delayed is dissemination denied.” One protester from the left says he does not mind the permitting process. "The problem is not the permits," said Joe Seeman, a state Assembly candidate. "The problem is the Trumpers got into people's faces. They blasted sirens in our ears while we are singing 'God Bless America.' ... There are non-violent protesters, I was one of them, going to Stefanik's office calling for justice and they came and tried to physically intimidate us, to pick a fight. Permits says we can be there and the police have to protect us. We shouldn't have to have police protection, but it keeps the counter protesters at a distance." As Black Lives Matter protests continue up and down the Hudson Valley, more often counter-protesters are raising the volume, or militia figures are threatening protesters online or in person. Many more people are taking to the streets this weekend. There's another Albany protest on June 20 at noon at South Pearl Street. A large Catskill and Hudson protest is expected at 4 p.m. June 20, with groups planning to meet on both sides of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and walk across to the middle. The Chatham Black Lives Matter action is at 5:30 p.m. at 5 Depot Square on Saturday. On June 21 there is a pro-police rally at noon in New Paltz along Main St. between the Tops market and the post office. There is also a Black Lives Matter protest at 4 p.m. in Ellenville at Liberty Square.
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