Los Angeles Bans a Variety of Items from Protests

Los Angeles is planning the to ban items such as shields, touches, baseball bats, and mace from public demonstrations and protests. This will be made possible by a proposed amendment law that will be debated by the City Council. The ban has been motivated by the violence that has been experienced in recent protests that have been held in Charlottesville, Virginia, Berkeley, and a few other cities. According to the motion that proposes the amendment, demonstrations that have been occurring around the country are becoming more violent every day. Protesters carry items such as sticks, poles, signs, glass bottles, and different devices that can be modified as weapons to cause injuries and destruction of property.

The proposed amendment has a long list of items that should not be carried by people during the demonstrations, protests, pick lines, rallies, and public meetings. They include firearms, tears gas, glass bottles, ice picks, projectile launchers, sword, knives, nunchuck, ball bearings, water guns with hazardous liquid, and many others. The city will also have to regulate the use of banners and signs that have the handles. After the amendment, protesters will be required to us signs that are made from cardboard, plastic, or cloth. All metal sticks would be illegal while plastic and wood sticks won’t be allowed unless they have a width of the less than two inches or a ¼ inch thickness. The plastic sticks would also be required to be hallow. Los Angeles Municipal Code’s Section 55.07 will be amended even though it has already banned the use of wooden bats.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has opposed the amended ordinance by questioning if it is legal. The City Attorney’s office has whoever defended it by stating that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals supported the existence of the Section 55.07 in 2003. This decision by the court confirmed that the city has a right to regulate items that can be carried during demonstrations despite the section limiting only the size of wood sticks at that time. During a protest that occurred in August, neo-Nazis and white supremacists carried tiki torches while matching around the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. The following day, there were counter-protests, and this led to violence where dozens of people injured. The encounter led to the death of the one counter-protester. Items such as the shields, long sticks, and mace were used during the violence.

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