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Occupy protesters sue over free speech, force

Cities that broke up Occupy camps now face lawsuits over free speech, use of force By The Associated Press

Most major Occupy encampments have been dispersed, but they live on in lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities' use of force.

Lawyers for protesters have sued in state and federal courts from coast to coast. They are challenging eviction orders, what they call heavy-handed police tactics and the banning of demonstrators from public properties.

Some say the fundamental right of protest has been criminalized in places, with protesters facing arrest and charges while doing nothing more than exercising protected rights to demonstrate.

The New York Civil Liberties Union calls the lawsuits an important check on police power.

Public officials have generally defended moves to break up the camps, citing health and safety concerns.

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Related Keywords:Occupy-Lawsuits,Protests and demonstrations,Human rights and civil liberties,Social issues,Social affairs,Legal proceedings,Law and order,General news,Political and civil unrest

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