By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - In a free speech ruling, an appeals court has upheld restrictions on the public’s ability to protest overnight on the Iowa Capitol grounds.

Attorney Sally Frank said Monday the decision was a blow for free speech and assembly, pledging an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Frank represents Basil Hill, one of two dozen Occupy Iowa protesters arrested for trespassing in 2011 for staying on the Capitol grounds after an 11 p.m. closing time. To hold protests overnight, groups need advanced permission from the Department of Administrative Services.

Frank argued protesters’ free speech rights should trump the restrictions. She noted that protesters cannot get permits during the weekend, which doesn’t allow for spontaneous gatherings.

The Iowa Court of Appeals last week upheld the limits, saying they were reasonable and content-neutral.

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