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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 26, 2004 07:42 AM

In Manhattan yesterday, a judge ruled that “United for Peace and Justice,” organizers of the largest protest planned during the week of the Republican National Convention, may not hold a rally in Central Park on Sunday. The New York Times (registration required) reports:

Yesterday’s decision was the second this week in which a group of protesters were denied permission to use the Great Lawn at Central Park for a rally before the convention. On Monday, a federal judge upheld a decision barring a group, the National Council of Arab Americans and the Answer Coalition, from holding a rally there on Saturday.

In Justice Silbermann’s 13-page decision released yesterday, she chided the group for waiting until Aug. 18 to file the lawsuit challenging the permit denial; she also wrote that there was no evidence the decision by the Parks Department had been politically motivated. While she did not rule on the constitutional issue raised by the protest group, she said the group “cannot clearly demonstrate a constitutional violation…”

…Justice Silbermann said there was “no credible evidence” that the denial of an application “was based on the content or viewpoint” of the group’s message. “Rather,” she wrote, “the evidence established that the department’s determination was based on entirely content-neutral factors, to wit: that the Great Lawn was not an appropriate venue for a demonstration of this magnitude.”

The city had argued against a permit for United for Peace and Justice to hold a rally in Central Park, saying that so large a demonstration would cause enormous damage to the park, particularly to the Great Lawn and the North Meadow…

Demonstrating the Left’s contempt for the rule of law, Jeffrey Fogel, the lead lawyer in United for Peace and Justice’s lawsuit, suggested that the judge’s ruling is an invitation to go ahead and trash Central Park anyway:

This should be encouragement to people who otherwise might not have come out, to come out and make that demonstration.

Columnist Froma Harrop gets to the bottom of the tantrum-throwers’ mindset:

Why would the group even want its demonstrators ? whose numbers could reach 250,000 ? stomping every blade of the Great Lawn’s grass into compost? The answer is simple: They want it because … because … because people in authority told them not to.

The New York Post’s take is here.

One irony in all this is that the demonstrators’ predicament is of the Left’s own making. Their free speech is being curtailed because of zero-tolerance green space laws protecting Central Park.

Reap what you sow, rabble-rousers.

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Categories: Bush Derangement Syndrome, Moonbats