- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Press Club is sending a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio chiding his staff about setting up a separate area for protesters.

The club, made up of journalists from across the city, unveiled the letter Thursday.

It criticizes the mayor’s aides for keeping protesters about 50 yards from de Blasio during a Friday event in the Rockaways.

It calls the practice contrary to the concept of free speech and “a mockery of our basic rights.”

De Blasio was there to reopen a boardwalk destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. He’s not especially popular in that neighborhood and was heckled the day before on Staten Island.

City Hall officials said the zone was created so those who might be carrying signs wouldn’t block the view of others.

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