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JACKSONVILLE, NC (AP) — A federal judge is approving a settlement after anti-abortion protesters claimed a Jacksonville city ordinance violates free-speech rights by giving police too much leeway in deciding where and when demonstrations are allowed.

A court order filed Tuesday says Jacksonville has agreed to change its local public assembly ordinance, which required a police permit for protests that involve three or more people.

A group of anti-abortion protesters from nearby Craven County sued in November, claiming the ordinance violated their rights to free speech as they attempted to picket a Jacksonville women’s clinic.

The agreement approved by U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle says the lawsuit will be dismissed 30 days after Jacksonville’s city council modifies the ordinance.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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