(11/27/06) BROOKLYN &舑; Protesters gathered outside police headquarters Monday to protest what they call a proposed crackdown on free speech.
The demonstration came about as the result of the NYPD&舗;s proposed changes to the city&舗;s parade permits. The changes would alter the definition of a parade to 10 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles or other devices proceeding together on public streets that do not comply with traffic laws. It would also mean groups of 30 or more vehicles, bicycles or other devices moved by human power that comply with traffic laws are also parades. This would make permits for large groups mandatory.
Police say the proposed changes would make residents safer. However, those against the move say it&舗;s an attempt to stifle demonstrations and free speech. They also claim the current permit process is tough enough, and it doesn&舗;t need to be any more complex. Critics say if the measure becomes law, they&舗;ll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.