The Glens Falls Common Council is moving forward with a set of ground rules when it comes to protests on public streets. It comes after some tense moments during recent political demonstrations.
After the common council heard from the public, it approved a resolution to get the ball rolling on safety standards surrounding demonstrations in Glens Falls.
The decision to create the regulation centered around the conduct of various pro-Donald Trump groups and progressive organizations during rallies.
Among some of the proposed rules:
- Demonstrations of 25 people or more would need to be approved by the city 10 days in advance.
- Sound horns and sirens would be banned from the demonstrations.
- Protesters would also need a special permit from the Glens Falls police department to bring firearms.
- Banners and signs are prohibited from being hung from structures or vehicle during protests.
Protestors on both on the left and right said they feel the city's restrictions would impose on their freedom of speech.
“I believe they want to try to limit our First Amendment rights ... or try to carve out specific places in the city where we can exercise freedom of speech, and I don’t think that’s fair,” said pro-Trump group member Michael Berkowitz.
“This is the way we communicate our political views to each other, so I want to make sure they are protected,” said progressive activist Andrea Mitchell.
The city says recent unplanned protests have put a strain on police resources, as well as complaints of noise and disorderly conduct during demonstration.
“It was really with the intent of not being overwhelmed any longer and trying to make sure that things were going on in a peaceable manner, and in a manner that didn’t overtake our downtowns,” said Councilor-at-Large Jane Reid.
The common council will meet in two weeks to put the proposal up for a final vote.