More than 300 demonstrators chanted and sang on the sidewalk outside U.S. Rep Darrell Issa’s Vista office Tuesday morning — the first of the weekly rallies since the city backed off restrictions limiting where the protesters could stand.
The gatherings, which generally target the congressman’s voting record as well as the policies of President Donald Trump, began in January but had grown controversial over the last few months.
The owner of the office building complained the crowds were disruptive, disturbed tenants and potential clients, and created unsafe conditions along the road where the building sits.
The protesters, many of whom are retirees, called the demonstrations an important free-speech right. They added crowd control and safety measures such as cones and ropes to address the concerns.
Still, Vista began requiring the organizer to obtain a permit for the gatherings. When city officials attached certain requirements to the permit — including that protesters stand across the street and keep the noise down — the ACLU stepped in, arguing the conditions infringed on the citizens’ Constitutional right to assemble.
In late June, Vista issued a new permit, lifting the conditions. It runs through the end of September.