S.L. County pays $4,804 to protesters
Salt Lake County has agreed to pay an additional $4,803 for turning away animal rights demonstrators from Abravanel Hall last year, putting an end to litigation over the right of small groups of protesters to gather without a permit. The county earlier had paid $11,500 to members of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition (UARC) and their attorney. Two UARC members were distributing leaflets on Dec. 7 as concertgoers exited the hall when a security officer told them they could not demonstrate on the adjoining public sidewalk or within one block of the building. On Dec. 10, six members who gathered to pass out leaflets were threatened with arrest. The two men involved in the Dec. 7 incident filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, seeking an order allowing them to demonstrate on the sidewalks and in the areas outside public facilities on the block, which includes the Salt Palace and Abravanel Hall. In an initial settlement, the county acknowledged that protestors have the right to engage in free speech activities in public areas and paid $500 each to the two protestors and UARC and $10,000 to their attorney. That settlement also included a provision that the animal rights advocates could file an amended lawsuit challenging a 30-day application period for demonstrations. On July 27, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart ruled the county cannot require the advance protest permits for small, spontaneous demonstrations. That ruling led to the agreement, finalized Wednesday, to pay additional damages and attorneys' fees. - Pamela Manson
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