Proposals Are in The Works to Ease Regulations for City Protest Marches

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The City of San Antonio is considering changing the rules to make it easier for groups to get the necessary permits to stage rallies and demonstrations on city property, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

City Attorney Andrew Segovia told the Council Governance Committee that a review is in the works of policies which require one type of permit on 'public spaces' like parks and in front of City Hall, and another type of permit for 'city property' like the Airport.

The issue burst into prominence in March, after President Trump announced his 'Muslim Ban.'  Protesters across the country gathered at airports to demonstrate their opposition to the ban, but local protesters were told they needed to provide 48 hours notice before they could legally protest at San Antonio's Airport.

Attorney Amy Kastely  who has previously sued the city over what she calls its 'onerous' restrictions on public demonstrations, says one thing she wants changed is the fees the city charges for protest marches.

"Groups have been told that the costs are going to be $10,000 for events on the streets of San Antonio," Kastely said.

City officials say the fees are needed so taxpayers don't have to pay the costs of the protesters littering, and otherwise disrupting traffic.

Kastely says it is also unfair that the Police Department is the body that requests for permits need to be submitted to.

"The police discretion is too great, and I would argue that it is unconstitutionally large," she said.

She says it is also difficult to obtain a protest permit, pointing out that it is the only city form which is not avaialble on line.

Segovia said new proposals are expected to be submitted by the end of the month.

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