Thursday, April 15, 2004

City Council cracks down on disruptions

By Greg Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Protesters who disrupt meetings of Cincinnati City Council could be banned from council chambers for 60 days under a rule passed Wednesday.

Republican Councilman Pat DeWine said the new rule was necessary to restore decorum to the half-hour session in which citizens can speak to City Council for two minutes on any topic. Some black activists have used the session to shout racial slurs and make personal attacks on council members.

Charterite Christopher Smitherman voted against the measure, saying the rule violates the free speech rights of people who petition City Council.

Some protesters said they would ignore the new rule.

"We don't care what ordinance you pass," said William Kirkland, who leads an organization he calls the African-American Cultural Commission.

"Rebellion, resistance and rioting have been a tradition of our people ever since your ancestors brought us over here. And we're going to continue doing that."

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