Tennessee officials agreed Monday to stop enforcing a new curfew used to dislodge Occupy Nashville protesters from the grounds around the Capitol.
The protesters went to federal court seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bill Haslam, arguing the curfew and arrests of dozens of supporters violated their rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.
State Attorney General’s Office Senior Counsel Bill Marett announced at the beginning of a hearing before Judge Aleta Trauger that the state would not fight efforts to halt the policy.
The judge said she had already decided to grant the restraining order because the curfew was a “clear prior restraint on free speech rights.”
“I can’t think of a more quintessential public forum than Legislative Plaza,” Trauger said.
This is a huge victory for Nashville and in general, the OWS movement. It shows that you can’t just deprive people of their right to freedom of speech and assembly because you disagree with the content of their message. Hell, Nashville had been considering a city-wide curfew just to get around the freedom of assembly right.