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OFF BEAT: No rights for the living dead?


Do First Amendment rights extend to zombies?

Probably not, but a federal lawsuit filed against the Tennessee Valley Authority by a group of protesters contends that dressing like the living dead is a constitutionally protected act, according to a report by the Associated Press.

In July, protesters in Chattanooga, Tenn., showed up to a TVA board meeting dressed as zombies in the hopes of convincing the utility's board members not to resume a nuclear power plant construction project in Alabama that had been dormant since 1988, the AP reported.

Soon after the meeting, the TVA announced it would no longer allow costumes to be worn to its board meetings. A month later, four costumed protesters were turned away from a board meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., and a fifth was booted from the meeting for mimicking a zombie, according to the AP.

Six protesters have jointly asked a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to strike down the TVA's “no costumes” rule, as well as $300,000 in damages to be split among them, the AP reported.