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The right to assembly in the first amendment of the US Constitution is qualified by the word "peaceably," and my understanding is that local communities may still regulate peaceable assembly somewhat, with parade permits for example, which may require fees to be paid and/or police details (to be paid), time and location limits, etc.  Also, there may be local rules around side walk protests, such as when picketers are told to keep moving, so they walk in a circle.

The point is that the US constitution limits the federal government, but not always and entirely the state/local governments--though historically, federal limits enshrined in the first amendment have been increasingly applied to the states, but not always.  And since any street protest happens on some street somewhere, there is always going to be a local/state concern.

by jjellin on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 06:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is the case.  But it would be a constitutional violation of the first order for a municipality to claim that public demonstrations were prohibited for lack of funds to police them.  They would be simply ordered by courts to let them go on without police or to find the funds to make it work by reducing something else or increasing fees and taxes.  The explicit right in the US constitution provides a means of finding a consensus that public protest has priority over most other things that government might be interested in doing. Maybe that consensus just doesn't exist in the UK.
by santiago on Tue Nov 16th, 2010 at 12:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was easy to police protests in the US, just place the cops around the free speach zone. (Or has that practise been abolished after Bush?)

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Nov 17th, 2010 at 07:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by jjellin on Wed Nov 17th, 2010 at 02:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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