Watch CBS News

Activists Claim DIA Infringed On Freedom Of Speech

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - Protesters have asked a federal court judge to issue an injunction against the City of Denver and police after demonstrators were asked to leave Denver International Airport last month.

The response was strong and immediate to President Donald Trump's travel ban. Protestors rushed to airports around the country including DIA.

(credit: CBS)

But in Denver, police told the demonstrators that they needed to have obtained a permit seven days in advance of the protest.

They were addressed by a man with an airport badge on a megaphone who announced, "You need a permit to conduct this activity on airport property."

And a Denver police officer told them, "Stop doing anything that can be construed as Free Speech without a permit."

(credit: Darren O'Connor)

Now some of those protesters have filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for the airport rule that requires a permit a week in advance to be lifted.

Civil Rights attorney David Lane is representing the protesters.

(credit: CBS)

"Those protesters were out there the day that occurred and Denver expects them to wait seven days? The Supreme Court says that's unconstitutional," said Lane.

The protests continued inside DIA despite the request by police. Then, to avoid arrest, some demonstrators moved outside by the Westin hotel. The city insists its actions were within the law.

Travel ban protesters gathered Jan. 28 at Denver Int'l Airport. (credit:: CBS)

DIA issued a statement, "Denver police and the airport worked to balance the rights of individuals to express themselves with the need to protect passengers and airport operations."

Those who filed the lawsuit continued their protests at DIA. CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger asked them a question as they carried one of the signs they had at the protest.

(credit: CBS)

"Are you a little worried about holding up this sign?" asked Sallinger. "Yes. Any minute DPD could arrive and take it," said one protester.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.