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Florence: An organization that has staged dozens of protests against a Confederate monument in north Alabama filed suit contending the city is trying to limit the demonstrations in violation of free-speech guarantees. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Project Say Something and its founder, Camille Bennett, claims the city and Police Chief Ron Tyler are trying to clamp down on the protests by telling the group when, where and how it can demonstrate against the monument, located at the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Bennett said the organization, a nonprofit she founded about eight years ago, has tried to work with the city, the TimesDaily reports. “Alabama has a long history of confronting racial injustice through peaceful demonstration, and it is imperative that we not lose that ability to speak truth to power when the situation demands it,” Bennett said in a statement. The city has not responded to the federal lawsuit in court, and city officials declined comment. Project Say Something held as many as 175 demonstrations at the monument in 2020 but cut back the following year because the city used its noise and parade permit ordinances to discourage them, the lawsuit said. The chief relocated the demonstrations to a “protest zone” away from the courthouse to shrink the potential audience, it claimed, and he threatened to issue citations.

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