Don’t you realize there are precedents for reasonable restrictions like permits for execution of First Amendment rights?
Yes, we understand that there have conventionally been restrictions as to reasonability regarding the time, place and manner of assembly and free speech. When we have had marches of hundreds of people in the downtown area, we have recognized the potential impact on traffic and public order and complied with requirements for permits.
At the Legislative Plaza, we do not understand why it would be reasonable to restrict the time, place or manner of our speech. The plaza is a public area traditionally used for assembly and free speech. The assembly at the plaza caused no public nuisance whatsoever. There was no obstruction of access, no impact on any commercial business, a clearly defined code of conduct, and a management plan including actions that maintain a clean, healthy environment. The Southern Festival of Books took place during this period without disruption. We have clearly demonstrated our commitment to non-violence during the arrest of over 50 people. We recognize the homeless population as part of the 99% and welcome their participation.
We disapprove of any behavior that damages the Plaza or is detrimental to health. We believe that it is the responsibility of the Department of Safety to identify the perpetrators of such actions and prosecute them accordingly, to maintain the safety of all Nashville citizens.
We do not accept that the First Amendment only applies at certain times of day, and we believe that every community should have access to a space where First Amendment rights can be exercised at any time, without payment or burdensome conditions.