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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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