2005-03-27 City Sues TIME'S UP!

March 27, 2005

In an Affront to First Amendment Rights, New York City Sues
TIME'S UP! Nonprofit Environmental Group
and Continues to Criminalize Critical Mass Bicycle Ride

Freedom of Speech and Assembly under attack

NEW YORK, New York -- On March 22, 2005, The City of New York
filed suit against TIME'S UP! and four of its volunteers, enjoining
them from participating in and promoting the Critical Mass bicycle ride
which meets the last Friday of every month on the north end of Union
Square Park. The suit also challenges the rights of 20 or more people
to meet in a park without a permit.

"The ramifications of this lawsuit are very troubling," says
Norman Siegel, the prominent civil rights attorney who represented
Critical Mass cyclists last year. "Under the city's view, advocates
should not be able to advertise or promote protest activity, which is
clearly unconstitutional."

TIME'S UP! is community-based, all-volunteer, and non-profit, and
has been working for close to two decades in New York City. The group
hosts hundreds of free events and educational workshops every year, from
community garden clean-ups to bicycle repair workshops, promoting a safer,
quieter, friendlier, and more environmentally sustainable city.

Volunteers from TIME'S UP! are shocked by the city's actions
and the continued harassment that cyclists have faced since the
Republican National Convention. "This lawsuit is arrogant and overly
broad," says volunteer Matthew Roth, "and if if the injunctive request
were granted it would clearly violate First Amendment rights to free
speech and assembly."

At last Friday's Critical Mass the N.Y.P.D. continued to
criminalize group bike rides, arresting 37 cyclists, charging
them with minor infractions for which motorists would receive a
summons or ticket. Additionally, the police cut the locks off
and seized dozens of bicycles in the area, in direct violation
of Federal judge William H. Pauley III's order from 2004.

TIME'S UP! has established The TIME'S UP! Bike Legal Defense
Fund, and asks supporters to donate funds to help fight this
assault on our rights.

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Norman Siegel comments on the city's actions:
http://www.times-up.org/index.php?page=release-050327_norman_siegel

The city's legal document is available online at:

http://www.times-up.org/uploads/pdf/2005-03-22-nyccm.pdf

Judge Pauley's 2004 ruling is online at:
http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/courtweb/pdf/D02NYSC/04-08621.PDF

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