Now that Occupy Wall Street has grown from a handful of demonstrators taking over a Lower Manhattan park to spawn offshoots in cities around the U.S., the movement is now occupying courtrooms. The young movement has lawyered up and filed lawsuits asserting freedom of speech and assembly in federal courts in Cincinnati, Sacramento, Nashville, Dallas and Atlanta, to name a few places. These lawsuits, launched throughout October and November, are attempts by demonstrators to remain in their encampments while protesting government policies and influential corporations that they hold responsible for America’s lopsided economic system. Unlike past First Amendment lawsuits filed over arrests during anti-war rallies, for instance, these complaints challenge ordinances and policies used to drive protesters from parks and other public areas.
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