Artists protest in St. Augustine, free speech at issue | News

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Artists protest in St. Augustine, free speech at issue

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Outside city hall in the nation's oldest city there were artists, writers and performers protesting the city's ordinances that spell out where they can set up shop.

St. Augustine is being challenged in court with ordinances that make the popular yet narrow St. George Street off limits certain hours to performers. Other nearby areas also have similar restrictions.

"This is absurd what this city is doing - and the fact it has been going for 20 something years - this needs to change, "said Angel Jones, who made the trip from Melbourne to support fellow artists and performers.

Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed with a hearing held in August. A federal judge has yet to rule on the lawsuit that has several people claiming the ordinance on the books violates the First Amendment and free expression.

The city claims the ordinances in question have public safety in mind, since some of the streets are narrow and easily become congested.

The protesters staged their performance on the sidewalk facing city hall.


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