Protesters Get Space At Miami Seaquarium

Miami SeaquariumMIAMI (AP) — Protesters will have more room outside South Florida’s marine mammal attraction, the Miami Seaquarium, under terms of a lawsuit settlement.

The agreement announced Monday ends a so-called “red zone” in which the Miami-Dade Police Department restricted protesters’ access to 40 feet of public sidewalk outside the attraction’s entrance. The settlement will make it easier for protesters to speak to Seaquarium patrons and hand out leaflets.

The policy was challenged on First Amendment grounds by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida on behalf of three animal rights advocates. There are regular protests at the Seaquarium near Key Biscayne chiefly over its star attraction, the orca Lolita.

A separate lawsuit seeks Lolita’s release after decades in captivity to a controlled environment in her native Pacific Ocean off the northwest U.S.