FAIRFIELD — Lawyers for animal rights activists and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo resumed their legal battle Friday over activists’ efforts to boycott the park’s animal attractions.
The activists, Citizens for an Animal Free Six Flags, want the park’s tigers, elephants, sea lions, dolphins, seals, giraffes, birds and other animals removed from captivity.
Activists staged a series of protests at the park earlier this year, holding banners and handing out leaflets to guests entering the park. The protests on park property were quelled in May with lawyers for the amusement park getting a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Scott L. Kays.
Kays presided over the first day of park lawyer’s effort to extend the ban on the activists from a temporary halt to a permanent injunction.
The park’s lawyer had an expert witness on consumer psychology, Dr. Valerie S. Folkes from the University of Southern California, explain for Kays the impact free-speech activities can have on a commercial business.
Folkes said park guests might mistake protesters for park employees and that the negative information being given by the activists can lead to a negative effect on the goodwill of the park and its employees.
Six Flags has policies barring protests and all similar expressive activities, both orally and in writing using signs and leaflets on its private property. The policies dictate that protests are to be done on the public sidewalks in front of Discovery Kingdom.
Kays ended the hearing by reminding the lawyers that the temporary restraining order would stay in effect until he makes a ruling at a future hearing. The legal dispute is scheduled to resume July 8.
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