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Police Declare 15 Hour-Long Protest Outside Of Mayor Peduto's Home 'Unlawful Assembly'

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Police declared the protest outside of Mayor Bill Peduto's home that began Tuesday evening and stretched into Wednesday morning an "unlawful assembly."

Around a dozen protesters spent the night outside of the mayor's home chanting, making noise and some were calling for the mayor's resignation. Police gave dispersal orders Wednesday morning, and the protesters left.

The mayor was not home last night when protesters beat on drums, blew in horns and chanted disdain, and he as not in his office today. But in a statement, he said while he supports free speech, he indicated arrests will be warranted if actions like this happen again.

The demonstrators have said they are protesting because they feel the mayor has not taken the Black Lives Matter movement seriously. The demonstration comes after a protester was arrested by plainclothes officers and put into an unmarked white van.

So far, police have allowed demonstrators unfettered access to city streets without permits, but even the ACLU says police are within their rights to make arrests if protesters create disturbances or block vital streets and intersections and refuse to disperse.

"People need to -- especially in this time -- have an outlet to be able to exercise their right to express their displeasure with what's going on in government. But at the same time, I think everybody need to recognize that those rights are not unlimited," said Vic Waczak of the ACLU.

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In a statement, the mayor also said free speech has its limits.

"What I cannot defend is any neighborhood in our city — and their residents and families — being disturbed through the night and morning, and a peaceful protest devolving into unacceptable conduct in which residents are being harassed and threatened," he said.

Some sleep-deprived neighbors seemed to take what was happening in strides.

"I don't mind the mission being in my neighborhood. I would have preferred that the mayor come home and sit and listen to what they say," said the mayor's neighbor, Michele Passerrello.

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