LawGC Files Emergency Injunction Against City of Fort Lauderdale and Obtains Protection

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Occupy Fort Lauderdale protesters were hours from a late-night eviction when they learned late Wednesday they could stay at City Hall through next week.People in tents, with blankets and signs, were told by the city of Fort Lauderdale Tuesday that a new rule was in order to limit how long they could stay on the plaza.  The rule banned tents and prohibited people from sleeping there from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.  It was the first time a South Florida city has made serious steps to break up Occupy protesters.  A city spokesperson said the rules were not designed to restrict free speech. And one concern over prolonged stays in tents at City Hall was that conditions were less-than sanitary. "I don't buy that for a second," said protester Jessica Miller. "We don't leave trash around. That's not the kind of thing that we want to do because we understand sanitary conditions. We don't want to have a nasty, messy area to be occupying." After a tense emergency hearing Wednesday evening, Broward Circuit Judge Marc Gold ruled the city could not enforce the new rule. "So at least, for now, until December 2nd, the city won't be able to arrest or otherwise take action against a peacefully gathering protesters," said George Castrataro, an attorney representing the protesters. Miller said the ruling was a big win for the movement. "Today was definitely, definitely, a very good day for that," she said.  The Law Offices of George Castrataro strongly supports the right of free speech and assembly.  Our involvement in the matter is completely pro bono and our goals are to ensure the free speech and free assembly of our clients.