L.A. City Council Bans Protests Within 300 Feet of Private Homes

Activists react to the more stringent rules that dictate where they can demonstrate
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Early Tuesday morning, protesters equipped with signs and megaphones gathered outside the Sun Valley home of City Council President Nury Martinez to oppose a proposed ban on demonstrations in close proximity to a private residence.

“What’s the reason we in these streets?” they chanted. “No ban on 300 feet.”

Hours later, Martinez joined 11 of her 14 colleagues in voting in favor of the measure, which replaces a current ordinance that prohibits protestors from demonstrating within 100 feet of a targeted residence. The new law also permits anyone who is “aggrieved” by unlawful protestors to seek up to $1,000 for each violation, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Aggrieved” parties can include the targeted individual of a protest or their neighbors.  During the August 31 meeting where the motion was introduced, a number of council members expressed concern that the people living around them were being unduly disturbed.

Martinez, who introduced the measure, had previously shared stories about protestors showing up at her home at all hours of the night, vandalizing her car, and yelling obscenities into her daughter’s bedroom window. Mitch O’Farrell also complained about protestors staging demonstrations outside his home.

Mike Bonin and Nithya Raman were the lone council members to vote against the ordinance on Tuesday; Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor, was absent from the vote.

During the August 31 meeting, Raman said she thought it would be more beneficial to strengthen the city’s current 100 feet rule instead of creating a new one that “will likely have the exact same problems in its design and in its enforcement.” Bonin questioned whether protest leaders who incite violence are being held accountable as it is.

 

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Activists promised to continue pushing back against the stricter rules. On Instagram, the advocacy group Ktown for All wrote, “The 300 ft ban on protesting in front of a ‘target’s’ home did not pass unanimously today, which means it will be voted on again on 9/21. We have to fight back and defeat this monstrous ordinance, which protects the powerful from hearing from those they oppress.”

Political strategist and Los Angeles contributor Jasmyne Cannick, who organized protests outside the home of political donor Ed Buck prior to him being charged and convicted of crimes associated with the deaths of two gay Black men, told the Times that she had mixed feelings about the new ordinance.

“If we were not able to protest Ed Buck at his apartment building, I doubt we would have been able to bring the attention needed to [show] what was happening there,” Cannick said.

She also tweeted that the restriction may be beneficial for public officials, “but when it comes to predators like Ed Buck who used his apartment to commit his crimes, protesting at 1234 N. Laurel was entirely appropriate. Standing in front of the sheriff’s department wasn’t going to get us anywhere.”

 


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