Charles Town Ordinance Law challenges freedom of speech


A question over the freedom of speech was the theme of the protest held today in Charles Town. 

Rockwool, a Danish manufacturing plant has caused controversy in the community. The concern for Charles Town residents is pollution, while proponents argue the plant would be great for the economy. Recently residents both for and against the plant were asked by the City of Charles Town to remove their signs. 

Delegate for the 65th District Sammi Brown said, “The city had sought forth to put in an ordinance that said all the signage in the city should be taken down. Now whether you are for or against the plan, you should be very disconcerted that this was the action your local government decided to take.

This is especially concerning because the signs against Rockwool outnumber the ones for Rockwool says Susan Piper, leader of the women’s march in the Eastern Panhandle.
Nancy Gregory, a protestor fueled by anger commented, ” I was outraged. This is not a political issue, this is an issue of human rights and social justice.”
The city had asked residents to remove the signs saying they aren’t in compliance with a Charles Town ordinance which says politically motivated signs can only be temporary.
Part of that ordinance was called into question by ACLU Legal Director Loree Stark.
She indicated, “The Supreme Court has been very clear that signs like the ones that Charles Town seeks to regulate and ban would be unconstitutional and an infringement on resident’s free speech rights.
Stark sent a letter to the city expressing concerns over violations with freedom of speech. Now, the city now has an apology on it’s Facebook page.

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