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Forum Post: Obtaining permits for events

Posted 8 years ago on March 27, 2012, 5 p.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Okay, I know this is an issue that must have been discussed often, and I fully understand the objection. Why should any group need to get a permit to hold a protest or other event in a park that belongs to us, the public?

However, there are some valid reasons for this requirement. For instance, where two groups apply to hold an event on the same day and time. We don't groups fighting over territory in a park.

The idea of asking the establishment for permission to protest against that same establishment is obviously a bizarre thought. If our founders requested permission from the crown to protest British occupation, I'm fairly sure it would have been denied. But in our system, we do have checks and balances, and they occasionally work. A city cannot deny such an application based on political viewpoint. If they're inventing reasons that really have no basis, and makes it obvious they're merely trying to suppress speech, the denial can be challenged on that basis.

I don't personally have an opinion here. I think there's valid arguments on both sides ... but I'm curious, what do people think about this issue?



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[-] 2 points by DanielBarton (1345) 8 years ago

agree with the post

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 8 years ago

If you had a permit, the police would be there for your protection.

If you had a permit, it would be oh so peaceful.

If you had a permit, everyone would join.

If you had a permit, it would become a national day of assembly ?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

Can't get a permit for many things. The permit system doesn't really work for "mass" protests. You can get a parade permit, but by its nature, a protest is not like a parade. In a parade you have predetermined structure. You have X number of marching bands, pre-selected groups participate in the parade, and everyone else is just their to watch. This is not how a mass protest works. Ideally, people don't come to a protest to be spectators, they come to participate.

But with a community event, like something held in a park, in theory at least, a permit might have logical application and utility.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

Again, I'm not expressing a personal opinion about this, I'm sort of agnostic about it ... but I am curious, why not apply for permits in cases like the Fort Greene event? I don't think a permit application is even possible in some cases. Street protests aren't the sort of thing that groups normally get a permit for. But an event in a park (that's not planned as an occupation even e.g. there's no plans to do things like erect tents) seems like a somewhat different story.

Anyway, this is all a work in progress, and through these discussions, hopefully we'll figure it out.