Calling it an assault on their First Amendment rights, an Oak Ridge organization has again asked a federal court to order officials to remove a fence that blocks an area long used for protests, vigils, and demonstrations in front of the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, which opposes Y-12’s nuclear weapons production work, filed the preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Friday. The lawsuit, which amends a complaint filed in April, names new U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as the sole defendant.
OREPA wants the U.S. Department of Energy to reopen a small grass field near Y-12’s main entrance at East Bear Creek and Scarboro roads before an annual Aug. 6 demonstration. If it is left in place, the temporary fence erected April 1 would cause “irreparable harm” to First Amendment rights—including the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly, and the ability to petition the government for a redress of grievances, OREPA said. [Read more…]