Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Denver City Council trying to change park and parade permit rules

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The Denver City Council is trying to make it more difficult for protest groups to get permits to gather in city parks or hold parades during the convention. Their plan is to give the city first priority in getting a permit. So if a group like Recreate 68 requests a permit for a park, the City of Denver will be able to jump in front and get the permit instead.

Currently, applicants for parades or marches and for use of city parks for the kinds of free-speech events popular at political conventions follow a first-come, first-served application process.

The new permitting process would establish a lottery to award permits in cases where more than one group applied for the same parade route or park at the same time — with two exceptions.

If a group had been accustomed to using the route or park for five consecutive years, such as A Taste of Colorado event or Columbus Day parade, it would get priority. That's not likely to pose a serious issue during the convention, Aug. 25-28.

But events "planned, organized or presented by state, federal, or city governmental entities or their agents" would get top priority over any competing claims. - Denver Post

The ACLU and several protest groups are expected to raise questions about the plan at a January 2nd hearing.

Update: Read the letter the ACLU sent to the Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Attorney here

The ACLU also issued a press release on Friday that you can read here