Occupy Legacy: Tougher Laws Against Protests

Some fear free speech of all is at risk: LA Times
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2012 2:22 PM CST
In this April 2012 file photo, a handful of Occupy Boise activists remained at the group's encampment in downtown Boise, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner, File)

(Newser) – As Occupy Wall Street first moved across the country, protests enjoyed a fair amount of tolerance from—and even sometimes popularity with—local government. But as time has dragged on, the "ironic legacy" of Occupy is tightened restrictions on public demonstrations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Many cities have passed ordinances requiring protesters to follow all sorts of new rules when picketing or camping out; permits are more difficult to obtain, and there are increased penalties when rules are broken.

Some are concerned the new restrictions threaten free speech for everyone. "It reflects a hostility to protest," says an ACLU attorney. "What we've seen is a response not different from Bull Connor." Counters Los Angeles' deputy city attorney, "The movement has a right to exercise speech, but the city has a right to regulate its public spaces." Advocates are also concerned the new laws will affect homeless people the most, particularly the new restrictions on camping in public places. (Read more Occupy Wall Street stories.)

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