UPDATE: Occupy Cedar Rapids lawsuit moves to federal court - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Occupy Cedar Rapids lawsuit moves to federal court

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A lawsuit filed by Occupy Cedar Rapids protesters is moving to federal court.

Last week, the City of Cedar Rapids sent a letter to the attorneys representing the Occupy Cedar Rapids group, asking them to remove all personal property from the corners of 1st Street and M Avenue NW, which is owned by the city.

The city requested the group remove all property including tents, clothing, signs, food and fire pits by Tuesday of last week.  The city says the group is violating city ordinance.

About 20 protestors remained in the lot as the deadline passed. They have asked a judge to issue an injunction to stop the city from removing their property.

An attorney for the city has filed documents moving the case to U.S. District Court, noting the case raises a federal question relating to the First Amendment and should be heard there.

Protesters say they have a right to assemble on the property, which has been empty since homes damaged in a flood were bought and torn down. 

Their attorney, Robert Wilson, says the move is a delaying tactic and likely cancels a court hearing that had been scheduled for Monday.

City staff say they have contacted the group several times since Nov. 5 and asked them to submit a special events application to the city by Nov. 18, in order to stay in the space. The city says it was never done.

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