By JEFFREY GOLD Associated Press Writer
8:49 PM EST, February 21, 2008
NEWARK, N.J. - A three-year-old court order has failed to stop Newark from charging people who wish to engage in free speech, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday against the city.
The lawsuit charged that Newark is violating an order that bars it from requiring demonstrators to obtain a $1 million insurance policy before being issued a permit. The city consented to the order, issued in December 2004.
"We just want people to have the right to protest in Newark without facing unconstitutional barriers," said Bennet D. Zurofsky, a volunteer lawyer for the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of an activist group, the Peoples Organization for Progress.
"We're tired of going round and round on this; the city needs to take free speech rights seriously, fix their forms and train their staff," Zurofsky said.