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Airport solicitations barred • Wednesday March 19, 2003

Associated Press, Mar. 18, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hare Krishna solicitors are again being restricted at Los Angeles International Airport.

A federal judge refused to continue blocking the airport from enforcing its new anti-solicitation law, which went into effect Dec. 16 and requires charity representatives to remain in small, cordoned off “booths” in all nine passenger terminals.

The airport said the law was necessary because the Krishnas were annoying travelers. The misdemeanor violations could lead to $500 fines.

The Krishnas sued to prevent the airport from enforcing it, claiming the law was unconstitutional because the booths are in out-of-the-way places. U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall issued a temporary restraining order against the airport in January.

But Marshall on Friday rejected the Krishnas request to extend the restraining order until an April 7 court hearing and airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said the law will be enforced, starting Tuesday, at least until that date.

“They’re required to go back in the boxes,” Castles said of the Krishna solicitors.

Krishnas attorney David Liberman said he was angry that the City Attorney’s Office opposed his extension request because he has repeatedly accommodated its requests during this lawsuit and one that challenged an earlier version of the solicitation ordinance.

“They’ve just taken a nasty, mean-spirited approach to this litigation,” Liberman said. “If that’s the way they want to litigate, we can litigate that way.”

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