Permission to Protest Protest Permits?
July 19th, 2006

Civil libertarians have quickly condemned the the Bloomberg administrations latest
to restrict protests: requiring groups of bicyclists and even 30 or more people walking down the sidewalk to get a protest permit. Faced with court rulings that have gone against it, the city, rather than playing by the rules, wants to change those rules, Gothamist says.

Is it just us, or does requiring small groups of protesters to register with the police smack of the kind of oppression normally found only in Fascist states? Gothamist asks. Civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel — who helped win the rulings that went against the city– says the latest proposal radically changes expressive activity and the right to protest in the City of New York.” New York Civl Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman predicts the police department recommendation will suffocate spontaneous protest activity …. It is completely at odds with New York City’s proud tradition of free expression.

Looking into the background of the rules, Capitoilette writes, that they seem to have roots in the NYPDs persistent and absurd paranoia about the Critical Mass monthly mass bike ride and in Commissioner Ray Kellys more generic fear of anything that might make his city look like some place edgier than, say, Scarsdale on Prozac.

A public hearing will be held on the rules next month. The civil liberties union has said it will ask City Council to block the regulations if the police department does not change them.

By on July 19, 2006, 1:55 pm
In category: Community Development,Gotham City | 6 Comments »

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6 Responses to “Permission to Protest Protest Permits?”

  1. Daniel Millstone Says:
    July 19th, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    This seems yet one more goofy attempt by the City and NYPD to escape from the Constitution. Free speech and assemble are such burdens. As crime rates drop, Commissioner Kelly and the Mayor seem to need to create new ones.

    However, I’ve been unable to locate a text for the proposed rules or even of the NYPD press release. Could you would you point me in the right direction?

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 7:16 am

    They should have taken the opportunity to turn City Hall Park into a place were protests and rallies are officially sanctioned.

    They can still do that with Foley Square.

    They are restricting protests and rallies because they are disruptive for non-participants. But they have not allowed a way for protests and rallies to be held without being disruptive. Until they do, the idea that they are trying to prohibit them all together will not seem so crazy.

  3. Caitlyn Brazill Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    This entire concept seems insane. When will 30 people walking on the sidewalk become a group? Coming out of the subway? Leaving a great American baseball game?

    Protests and rallies are supposed to be disruptive. They are supposed to force people to think about an issue that they otherwise wouldn’t have – even just for a second.

    Plus, I really doubt that there are many people in this city that can point to a single instance of a protest in the last year that hurt them or damaged their property.

  4. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Permitting My Parade Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 8:55 am

    […] There has been considerable criticism of the citys proposed new policy regarding parade permits, which are almost universally seen as an effort to clamp down on public protest. Now Ezekial Edwards of the Bronx Defenders, writing in the DMI Blog, argues that the policy would create some very strange new parades that under the new rules would be forced to get such a permit Two Elderly People Crossing the Street When the Sign Says ‘Don’t Walk’ Parade”; “Four Little Kids Riding Their Scooters on the Sidewalk Parade; “5th Grade Class Trip to the Natural History Museum Parade” Compiled by Jonathan Mandell […]

  5. mfs Says:
    July 26th, 2006 at 10:32 am

    Protesting is a right, not a priviledge.

  6. Eroding Civil Liberties « Considering Lily Says:
    February 15th, 2008 at 12:59 am

    […] Here are some interesting links on the subject: Permitting Protest/Silencing Dissent A permit? We protest Permission to Protest Protest Permits? […]

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