Free Speech Group won’t talk about controversial bike rally

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The city’s work group focused on protecting free speech during next year’s Republican convention in the Twin Cities won’t be spending time Wednesday talking about the controversial Critical Mass bike rally that took place Downtown last month.

Nineteen protesters were arrested during a ride by bicyclists eager to compel drivers to rethink their mode of transportation.

Some protesters and their supporters had hoped to talk about police actions and demonstration rights and permits at the Minneapolis Free Speech Group meeting from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 333 of City Hall.

The group includes Mayor R.T. Rybak, Police Chief Tim Dolan, City Council Members Ralph Remington and Paul Ostrow, as well as representatives of Minnesota ACLU and others.

A statement on the city’s website about the group’s meeting agenda says, “There will be no discussion of a proposed Public Rally permitting process at this meeting. Departments with City obligations to protect the safety of Minneapolis citizens, demonstrators and property; insure safe traffic flow and the delivery of emergency services have been asked to provide the work group with logistical information they need to have on any proposed assembly, march or parade by groups in order to be able to carry out their duties. Any further decisions on the content of any permitting process for demonstrations will be suspended until this information is obtained.”