31 January 2012

Charlotte restricts free speech | SocialistWorker.org

...Charlotte's bid to restrict free speech rights follows similar ordinances adopted in Chicago in preparation for the NATO and G8 joint summit meeting in May. Like the measures approved in Chicago, the law passed in Charlotte seeks to stifle dissent through a combination of bureaucratic red tape and broadened power for police officers. Also like Chicago, the measure was passed under the administration of a Democratic mayor with overwhelming support by a City Council dominated by Democrats (there is only one Republican on the council).

The key part of the legislation, which takes the form of an amendment to city code, is a provision empowering the city manager--an appointed, not elected, official--to declare an event "of international or national significance" to be an "extraordinary event." The city manager may then specify and limit the times and locations in which demonstrations can occur. The law further empowers the city to establish permit deadlines for protesters wishing to stage marches and demonstrations.

The bill has no sunset clause, meaning that it will stay on the books permanently...

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