The state’s new Legislative Plaza curfew rules that resulted in the recent arrest of more than 50 Occupy Nashville protesters last week were put on hold by a federal judge while state officials and the protesters’ lawyers work out new policies.
Judge Aleta Trauger granted a temporary restraining order against further arrests, adding that she finds Legislative Plaza to be the “quintessential” place for a public forum and the new curfew was a “clear prior restraint on free speech rights.”
Assistant Attorney General William Marett said the state did not plan on fighting the temporary restraining order and instead said state troopers would make no more arrests pertaining to protesters occupying the plaza.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee — which is representing the protesters — and the state “came pretty close” to an agreement before the afternoon hearing, according to ACLU Cooperating Attorney David Briley. They now have until a Nov. 21 court date to iron out those details, which could include whether protesters can continue to use the plaza as an encampment in the future.
“We’ll have to figure that out,” Briley told reporters. “It clearly is a victory. (Protesters) were out there under the threat of arrest every night and now they’re not going to be so it’s clearly a victory for them.”