Advocates plead not guilty in panhandling ban protest

By: The Associated Press

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CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) – Advocates for the homeless have pleaded not guilty to citations they received for panhandling in protest of an ordinance in Cranston banning such activity.

They were given a trial date for July in Cranston Municipal Court Tuesday.

The advocates panhandled and distributed fliers at a busy intersection in March.

The city council passed the ordinance earlier this year. Officials described it as a safety measure.

It prohibits people from asking for money while standing in certain places, including on medians near multiple-lane roads or on roads where the speed limit is higher than 25 mph.

Mayor Allan Fung has stood by it.

The American Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged Cranston’s previous panhandling ban in court and plans to sue over the new ban.

The ACLU and advocates say it’s unconstitutional.

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