posted on Apr, 19 2004 @ 11:56 AM
"Robert Randall never knew free speech could cost so much — in dollars and in compromises — until he tried to organize a large-scale, peaceful
demonstration for this summer's G-8 summit.
The coastal city of Brunswick, where Randall hopes to gather up to 10,000 people to protest the world leaders' summit, passed a law last month that
places conditions on public demonstrations.
Organizers of protests like Randall's "G-8 Carnival" must put up refundable deposits equal to the city's estimated cost for clean up and police
protection. Demonstrations may only last 2 hours, 30 minutes. Signs and banners may not be carried on sticks that might be brandished as weapons. And
the signs may not be larger than 2-by-3 feet.
"This law would not exist if the G-8 was not coming here," said Randall, 51, a local therapist who has attended demonstrations since the Vietnam
War. "It makes it impossible to express oneself through assembly or speech on public property unless you have money." "
"Activists also have complained that security plans for so-called "free speech zones" at the Democratic Convention in Boston will keep protesters
from being seen or heard.
Cities "are choosing sides and what they're doing is trying to silence people from speaking out," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a Washington
attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice. "And they're using the law as a political tool to do it.""
Rights!?! Joo ain't got no stinking rights!