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Judge to Ensure Access to Dem Convention

June 10, 2004

BOSTON (AP) _ A federal judge on Thursday said he would deploy U.S. marshals to ensure that access to the site of the Democratic National Convention isn’t blocked by picketing police officers while construction workers prepare it for the political gathering.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro said the marshals would report violations of an order he issued last week that allowed police to hand out leaflets protesting contract talks with the city but not to block construction workers from the FleetCenter, the sports arena where the convention will be held July 26-29. When marshals would be deployed was not announced.

For two consecutive days, many of those workers turned away when confronted by angry police officers carrying banners and yelling. The officers have been working without a contract for about two years.

Only about a dozen union laborers and carpenters reported to work Wednesday, the second day of scheduled construction to convert the FleetCenter to a convention hall. The $14 million project includes connecting phone lines and removing seats to accommodate a large stage for the featured speakers.

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