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Federal judge upholds restraining order blocking Graham protest ordinance

The ordinance required people to get all protest gatherings approved by the police chief but has since been placed on hold by a federal court judge.

GRAHAM, N.C. — A federal court judge put a hold on a Graham ordinance requiring permits for protests. 

The Alamance NAACP along with the ACLU and other groups filed a lawsuit against the city of Graham over the ordinance in the wake of protests concerning the confederate monument in front of the courthouse.  

According to court documents, the ordinance made it illegal for anyone together with others to protest without getting explicit permission from the city’s police chief at least 24 hours in advance.

Court documents reveal a lawsuit was filed for a temporary restraining order arguing the law violates the 1st and 14th amendments of the constitution. A judge upheld the temporary restraining order on July 6. 

The city's attorneys agreed to the restraining order before Monday's decision. WFMY News 2 reached out to those attorneys for a comment and has not heard back.

The attorney representing the Alamance NAACP said protest permit ordinances were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court decades ago.

Kristi Graunke, the Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina said, “People have a right to express dissent against racism, police brutality, and white supremacy. The order issued today upholds their right to do so without fear of harassment or arrest.”

The temporary restraining order will last 14 days. A hearing scheduled for July 20th will allow lawyers for both parties to lay out their cases and the judge will then determine whether to continue blocking the ordinance.

Haddix said the hearing could also examine a policy that prohibits protests on the Alamance County Courthouse grounds where the Confederate monument stands.

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