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UFPJ Noontime Rally Urges City To Grant RNC Protest Permit

Having reached a critical moment in its permit negotiations with the city, United for Peace and Justice held a protest today demanding that Mayor Bloomberg grant the group a permit to rally in reasonable proximity to the Republican National Convention.

The protest, which took place at City Hall at noon today, was held in response to an ultimatum that the New York Police Department issued to United for Peace and Justice on July 14, 2004. The police told UFPJ organizers that they can hold their rally only along the West Side Highway, nearly a mile from the convention site, and that it would not negotiate further.

“This is our final offer,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told New York Times reporters at a news conference at Police Headquarters. “Obviously they have the ability to go to court and resolve it in some fashion that way.”

UFPJ sought a permit for 250,000 people to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park on Aug. 29, the day before the convention begins. But the Parks Department rejected that site, saying that the area cannot hold that many people and that a huge rally could damage the lawn.

Since then, UFPJ — which is represented by the NYCLU in its negotiations with the police — has offered to hold the rally in any of four other locations, all of which the city has rejected.

As reported in The New York Times, national coordinator for UFPJ Leslie Cagan said, “We will continue to work for what we believe is the best way to have our demonstration”…”We are fully prepared to maintain negotiations with the city.”

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