Protesters who have camped outside Louisville’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement building this week may get the boot by Monday.
The Louisville Metro Police Department announced Saturday that the protesters are violating Kentucky law and the Americans With Disabilities Act, which require public passages be open. In a press release, officials said the protesters, who call themselves “Occupy ICE,” will have to clear 4 feet of space.
Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said activists were given a verbal notice Saturday and will have 24 hours to comply before the city seeks legal action against them.
Occupy ICE protesters have camped on the sidewalk for the past week protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, and the separation of migrant children from their families.
In a written statement, LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad said police have accommodated people’s free speech rights, and that efforts to communicate with Occupy ICE have been unsuccessful so far.
“We will continue to balance public safety with free speech, including what constitutes free speech. We have been accommodating to people’s right to free speech, but those protesting must also be in compliance with state and local laws,” Conrad said.
LMPD’s announcement came hours after Occupy ICE and the Three Percenters, a pro-government group sometimes referred to as a militia, rallied for and against immigration policies downtown.
Jesús Ibañez, an Occupy ICE leader, said the group’s legal team is reviewing LMPD’s statement and will respond soon.
“What a farce for them to say they respect the free speech when they’re doing everything in their power to take that freedom away from us,” Ibañez said, “We’re not going anywhere until we abolish ICE.”
This story will be updated.