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Walker intends to charge citizens fee to protest

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« on: December 02, 2011, 04:02:28 pm »

Walker intends to charge citizens fee to protest

By David Edwards
Friday, December 2, 2011

Free speech is getting expensive in Wisconsin.

Following demonstrations earlier this year which drew up to 100,000 people to the Wisconsin Capitol, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed new policies that would require future protesters to pay in advance to stage an event, at a cost of $50 per hour, per Capitol Police officer.

Police may also require a liability insurance or a bond, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

Demonstrators will also be on the hook for any damage and cleanup following protests. Walker’s administration had claimed that the pro-union protests earlier this year had costs as much as $7.5 million, but later admitted that the actual costs were far less.

Under the new policy, permits will be required for groups of four or more people who want to do any activity inside the Capitol. Groups of 100 or more gathering outside the Capitol must also apply for a permit 72 hours in advance. Police will have some leeway if unforeseen events lead to spontaneous gatherings.

American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin executive director Chris Ahmuty agreed with the state’s allowance for spontaneous protests, but worried that some groups might have their right to freedom of assembly curbed because they could not afford to pay.


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