FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sue Cobb, 720-865-9016
City of Denver Releases Initial Details of Public Viewing Area Planned to Promote Freedom of Expression During the Democratic National Convention
(DENVER) The City and County of Denver outlined Wednesday details of a public viewing area to be established for Denver residents and visitors who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights and observe activities outside the Pepsi Center during the Democratic National Convention from August 25th through August 28th.
The public viewing area, also known as a “public demonstration zone,” will be a 50,000+ square foot area located within Pepsi Center Parking Lot A. The area will be within view and earshot of delegates and others entering and leaving the Pepsi Center. The public viewing area is provided in addition to myriad other opportunities for free speech that will exist throughout the city.
“Recognizing our community’s great interest in the Convention and the desire of so many to observe activity around the Pepsi Center and have their views be heard by delegates, we are dedicating more than a full acre of land to a public viewing area,” said Katherine Archuleta, Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor John Hickenlooper. “The area will be able to accommodate several thousand people at one time. Our intention is to maximize opportunities for people to express themselves in a safe manner that also respects the rights of others as well as local, state and federal laws.”
The entry and exit point for the area will be at 7th Street and Auraria Parkway and can be reached freely from the west via the Auraria Parkway sidewalk.
The City will treat the viewing area as a "public forum site," no different from other public sidewalks and walkways throughout the city. According to Denver City Attorney David Fine:
- Permits are not required to enter or use the public viewing area.
- Persons using the public viewing area will be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, or conversely may be subject to search and seizure, under Constitutional standards.
- No one will be allowed to obstruct the public viewing area in a way that would prevent free use of the area by others.
- The public viewing area will be open to the public, subject to laws that apply to public areas, including juvenile curfew laws and laws that govern overnight camping in parks and on any public right-of-way.
The City expects to use wire mesh fencing to mark the public viewing area. It is similar to chain-link and will not obstruct sight or sound. The City does not anticipate topping the fence.
The City also announced further details today about how the designated parade route connects with the public viewing area. From the intersection of Larimer and Speer, marchers will be able to continue on foot down Larimer to 7th Street to access the public viewing area. The area between the intersection of Larimer and Speer and the public viewing area will be open to the public under the same conditions as any other public space.