Skip to comments.NYPD mulls tightening rules for sidewalk, street protests
Posted on 07/19/2006 3:59:29 PM PDT by freepatriot32
NEW YORK Police have proposed placing tighter restrictions on protesters who march on sidewalks by making them obtain parade permits a move civil libertarians say would cripple the rights of people to stage spontaneous demonstrations.
The written proposal, made public on July 17, would require permits for any march on a sidewalk by 35 or more people or for street demonstrations involving 20 or more bicycles or other vehicles. It says the new rules are needed to better police assemblies that obstruct the free passage of public streets and sidewalks.
Current regulations, which are more loosely worded, mandate permits for large processions that could block traffic or create safety issues.
Yesterday, civil rights advocates said they would fight the new rules, calling them a retaliatory response by the New York Police Department to clashes with protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention and with cyclists who participate in the monthly Critical Mass bike rides.
The proposal radically changes the rules of protest in New York, said Norman Siegel, a lawyer for the Critical Mass cyclists. If the rules were adopted, New Yorkers will need the governments permission to exercise their First Amendment rights, and thats absolutely unacceptable.
Christopher Dunn, an attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the group would oppose this proposal and call on the City Council to block it.
Police spokesman Paul Browne downplayed the proposal, saying it was prompted by recent court decisions. After the rulings found that the parade regulations were too vague, the department moved to clarify them with these amendments, he said.
The department set a public hearing on the proposal for Aug. 23.
While demonstrations at the Republican convention in August 2004 were mostly peaceful, sporadic flair-ups between police and protesters resulted in more than 1,800 arrests, mostly on misdemeanor charges like obstructing government administration.
The Critical Mass rides, which started in San Francisco in 1992 and began in New York two years later, take place around the world on the last Friday of every month. They aim to assert cyclists rights and protest urban areas reliance on motor vehicles.
The rides became large enough in New York that police decided to crack down, leading to the arrest of more than 260 cyclists during a ride days before the GOP convention. Dozens more cyclists have been arrested at subsequent rallies.
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Do conservatives or Republican's ever "protest" or "demonstrate"?
I don't. I think if I did, I'd do it with a gun or a club.
Do "protests" ever really change anything?
As much as I hate liberals and most everyone else who clogs my streets, I also hate government making me pay to assemble. Something is so wrong about that.