You are here
Home > Local News > Activism > DIA issues protest permit under court order, but limits crowd size to, wait for it, FOUR! Then court stays injunction.

DIA issues protest permit under court order, but limits crowd size to, wait for it, FOUR! Then court stays injunction.


DENVER, COLORADO- Abiding by the injunction in McDonnell v Denver, DIA administrators granted us a free speech permit within 24-hours on Thursday, but they insisted that the terminal location desired could only accommodate FOUR PEOPLE. You heard right. Four. There’s irony here too because there were FIVE people named on the permit application! Thus the permit was actually 20% denied, and in reality 92% denied given that we sought a permit for 50 people, a number easily lower than the DIA International Arrivals area can handle.
 
MEANWHILE, in the 10th Circuit Court, the city of Denver appealed the DIA injunction and asked for a stay. This is not usually granted in First Amendment cases, but on Thursday it was. The 10th Circuit stayed the injunction and wants to hear arguments on March 17. So at DIA for now we’re back to the impermissive permit process that precludes accomodating public expression at the Denver airport. And the signing of President Trump’s new improved Muslim Ban looms…

THAT’S the more significant development in the case for free speech at DIA. But let’s get back to our story, to how poorly DIA administrators complied during the small window when our court injunction was in force and DIA was enjoined to be accomodating to the public’s right to expression.

Getting the permit process started was not easy. There are instructions on the DIA website but no application. A call to DIA was routed to a person who insisted we read instructions online. We said we did. She replied that if we had, we’d know what to do. We reiterated that there was no application there, and that we needed an application. She took our names and vowed to have someone call us back. This was at 11:30am.

After an hour we called back, explaining that time was of the essence, as was for them as well in responding to our request. We were given the same instruction, to consult the rules online. We explained that we’d READ the rules, STUDIED THEM in fact, and had them reviewed by a FEDERAL COURT. We exlained there was now a federal injunction to which DIA was bound and we required our permit request to be considered promptly, the first step of which, we presumed to be, the submission of an application! Our call was forwarded to a person who eventually emailed an application blank at approximately 4pm.

We filed the application immediately and here’s the correspondence that resulted:

Mr. Dalton
Please find attached a request for permit to protest at DIA at outside of international arrivals. We are requesting this in an expedited fashion pursuant to judge Martinez’s decision of a preliminary injunction re: Civil Action No 17-cv-0332-W JM-MJW. A new executive order is anticipated to be announced regarding the “Muslim ban” in the next day or two and we are requesting that the permit be processed within 24 hours to allow for a timely protest. We do not intend to obstruct airport operations. I will send you a copy of the judge’s order in a separate email.

Please note that I contacted the airport to request this permit by telephone at 11:35 am today.
Thank you
Nazli McDonnell

The attached application detailed our request to accomodate up to 50 protesters in the area where people await international arrivals. We received this response at 10:40am the next day:

Nazli McDonnell,

Your request for a permit to protest has been received, and it will be processed as quickly as possible. Some additional information will help us best respond to your request and will help ensure the safe and efficient flow of passengers while allowing your organization to communicate your message.

. What times do you expect individuals associated with your organization to be at the airport protesting?

. Due to the very limited space for meeters and greeters between the international arrivals exit and the entrance to the north screening checkpoint, we will not be able to approve more than four (4) people with your organization at that location. All additional protestors, up to 50, would need to assemble on the Plaza between the Terminal and the Westin Hotel. How does this affect the intent of your protest?

Please respond at your earliest convenience, and feel free to call at the office number list below if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
DAVE DALTON, C.M.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – TERMINAL OPERATIONS
Denver International Airport
Airport Operations

To which we replied:

Mr Dalton
We expect to be present at the airport during times that international flights would be arriving and expect to be there a few hours at a time. We do not intend a day long presence at the airport.

If only 4 of us can be accommodated at international arrivals (which seems VERY unreasonable since there are no limit as to how many friends or family members can greet a single passenger) why would the rest of us have to be located outside of the terminal building as opposed to the great hall area which can accommodate many more people and we can reach more people with our message? The intended audience for our message are the travelling public not the hotel guests. This restriction you intend to impose does not seem consistent with Judge Martinez’s recent federal injunction. I am copying our legal counsel to this email. We do not plan to cause congestion, obstruction or disruption at international arrivals or great hall and we can make sure safe passage space is available for travelers and employees at all times.

I hope that a reasonable permit that will allow the intended protest can be processed promptly in accordance with the court ruling.

A permit was issued at end of day Feb 23:

February 23, 2017

TO: ATN Nazli McDonnell, Citizen

FROM: Department of Aviation, City and County of Denver

RE: Permit Request – 2/22/2017

In accordance with Part 50 Rule 50.04 of the Denver Municipal Airport Systems Rules and Regulations (DEN Rules), the City and County of Denver, by and through its Department of Aviation (City), grants the multiple citizens associated with organization representative, Nazli McDonnell, to hold signs and protest the Executive Orders restricting refugees and Muslim visitors entering the U.S. (Speech Related Activities) at Denver International Airport (DEN). The City grants permission based on the following:

Unless otherwise exempted herein, Speech Related Activities are conducted in accordance with Rule 50; and

No more than four (4) people conduct Speech Related Activities at the approved location A (see attachment, Terminal map); and

No more than fifty (50) people conduct Speech Related Activity at the approved location B (see attachment, Terminal map); and

Speech Related Activities at the approved location A are conducted outside of the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility on level 5 of the DEN Terminal, as depicted on the attached Terminal map; and

Speech Related Activities are conducted during flight banks with international passenger arrivals.

Speech Related Activities are conducted from February 23, 2017, thru March 23, 2017.

An on-site representative from your organization must have a copy of this letter, the attached permit application, and attached Terminal map showing approved locations at all times. The City grants an exemption to Part 50, Rule 50.10, requiring all participants to wear and display the permit. Please ensure that the approved activities do not interfere with the safe and efficient movement of persons to and from the FIS facility and throughout Denver International Airport.

Very respectfully,

Dave Dalton
Assistant Director Terminal Operations

cc. DEN Terminal Operations file

NMT
Blurb about self

Leave a Reply

Top