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Burks Protest Request Denied Lawsuit Planned

Martha Burk's request to protest at Augusta National's front gate was denied Wednesday, but she plans to sue the city to get permission.
Burk rejected a compromise from sheriff Ronald Strength that would have allowed her to use another location to protest during the third round of the Masters on April 12. Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, opposes the all-male membership at the private club in Augusta, Ga.
The new location is closer to the gate than sites previously proposed by the sheriff, but still not close enough for Burk.
'The men of Augusta National Golf Club come through the front gate,' Burk said. 'To influence those folks, that's where we need to be.'
Strength did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
The American Civil Liberties Union planned to sue Wednesday on Burk's behalf, said Gerry Weber, legal director of the ACLU's Georgia chapter.
The suit would challenge the city's protest ordinance, amended last month to require groups to apply for permission 20 days before their protest.
The law gives the Augusta-Richmond County sheriff power to approve, deny or make changes to any requests to protest on city property.
Burk requested permission last week for the one-day protest. She wants to put 24 people at the front gate to Augusta National and an additional 200 across the street.
Strength had said he did not want protests at the gate because of safety concerns, primarily because of heavy traffic.
Burk said Wednesday the sheriff had denied that request but offered her a different location away from the gate.
'We have no interest in that,' she said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the 2003 Masters Tournament
  • The Augusta National Debate: A Chronology
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