Students contend park rules hurt speech, religious liberty

CHICAGO (AP) — Four Wheaton College students have sued the city of Chicago, claiming rules for a popular park undercut the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

Earlier this year, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events divided Millennium Park into 11 sections and prohibited "the making of speeches and passing out of written communications" in 10 of them.

Millennium Park is home to Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean, by British artist Anish Kapoor. Plaintiffs' attorney John Mauck says because it is a major tourist attraction "that's where you want to get your message out."

Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey refused to comment because officials haven't seen the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday. He says Millennium Park rules "protect First Amendment rights while also respecting the rights of patrons to use and enjoy the park."

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