11/11/11 – APEC/Know Your Rights Questions of the Day

Here are a few more questions we’ve heard this week from protesters:

  • I’m planning on marching to the Hale Koa tomorrow.  What do I need to know?

As far as we know, no one has a parade permit for any demonstration tomorrow.  That is, no one has a permit to walk, bike, drive, or do anything else to block off or otherwise use the street itself.  Assuming that you don’t have a permit to be in the street, keep the following in mind:

  1. Stay on the sidewalk, and don’t go into the street itself.
  2. Be respectful of others using the sidewalk.  You have a First Amendment right to demonstrate, but sidewalks are for everyone’s use.  Walk single-file (and/or move aside if people are coming the other way).
  3. Obey traffic laws (and obey law enforcement officers’ directions regarding crossing streets).  You can still be cited for jaywalking or for violating other traffic laws.  It’s possible that law enforcement officers could block off traffic for you to allow you and your fellow demonstrators to pass safely; if this happens, follow their directions as to when to cross.  Please note, too, that because you don’t have a permit, the police are not obligated to block off traffic for you.  If you see them doing it anyway, please know that they’re going above and beyond what is required of them, and thank them for their extra effort.
  4. Stay out of the secure zone around the Hale Koa.  If you enter the secure zone, it’s a federal felony.
  • Where does the sidewalk end?

Most City parks are closed at night, but sidewalks are generally open 24 hours a day. Consequently, you can generally continue to hold a protest overnight on a sidewalk even if the sidewalk is running alongside a park (please see above for general rules concerning use of the sidewalks).

There continues to be some confusion, however, about where the sidewalk ends and the park (or private property) begins.  So where does the sidewalk end?  Shel Silverstein offers some help, but as we discuss in our Toolkit, it’s not always clear.  The best information we can offer you is this:  if it looks like a sidewalk – that is, if it’s along a roadway, it’s made of concrete, it’s about 4-6′ wide, and it’s generally available for pedestrians to use 24 hours a day, it’s probably a sidewalk.  If you’re standing on grass, or you’re in a more expansive section of concrete, you’re probably in a park.   Some parks, and some pieces of private/government property, contain sections that are made of concrete and are “attached” to the sidewalk, but that doesn’t necessarily make that property “sidewalk” too.

If law enforcement officers tell you that you can’t be on a sidewalk, contact us.  Want more info?  Check out our First Amendment Toolkit!

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