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      ACLU warns Defiance against chalk message ban

      DEFIANCE, Ohio (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is warning a northwest Ohio city against cracking down on sidewalk messages written in chalk.

      At issue is a law in the city of Defiance prohibiting people from painting or defacing streets or attaching handbills to telephone poles.

      The law was used last year to stop members of a local Occupy group from writing political messages on sidewalks the night before the city's annual Halloween parade.

      James Hardman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, told the city in a letter that prohibiting such messages is a content-based restriction of political speech.

      City Law Director David Williams tells the Toledo Blade the situation has been overblown and the ban has nothing to do with the messages' content.

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      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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