The Chicago Tribune posted an article about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to change the rules for obtaining protest permits, the hours when demonstrations would be considered legal, and boosts in fines for a number of potential violations for demonstrations that are expected to occur to counter the G8 Summit taking place this spring. The ACLU of Illinois is keeping a close eye on discussions around the G8 Summit protests to ensure that First Amendment rights are not restricted, and that those who wish to peacefully assemble are able to do so without fear of arrest or fines.
Stiffening rules on typically fluid demonstrations will increase the likelihood of violations, giving police more opportunity to crack down and making it more costly for demonstrators, free speech advocates said.
“It’s clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions,” said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “It’s an unnecessary show of authority and something that will have very little meaning in terms of altering conduct.”