New Rules by New York City Police Department
.                Require a Permit for Public Assembly of 50 or more People.


In February, 2007, the NYPD published new regulations attacking freedom of assembly in New York City, unilaterally amending the definition of a "parade." ANY public gathering of 50 or more people - whether on foot, bicycle, or rollerskates - now requires a "permit" from the NYPD. And, just as the police have the power to grant permits, they also have the power to deny them.

Since when does the NYPD decide who can assemble and who cannot? Since when do the police create laws? Who will be permitted to exercise their constitutional right to assembly, and who will not?

That's not all. We, the NYC queer community, are outraged that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who claims to speak for *us*, has endorsed this plan, calling the new permit regulations "a practical approach to traffic and public safety issues" (NYT 10/18/06). The same Christine Quinn who claims to speak for the queer community is now attacking the very civil rights gains that have made it possible for her, an out lesbian, to become speaker. Did the Stonewall veterans ask the police for a permit in 1970 when they held NYC's first Gay Pride Parade? Quinn betrays those who fought hard for civil rights by allowing and supporting police violations of basic tenets of the Constitution.

              Thursday, April 19th at City Hall

An Un-Permitted Queer Parade in Honor
of Christine Quinn

The Radical Homosexual Agenda (RHA) and our allies will hold a "Parade Without a Permit" at City Hall at 4 pm to protest the recent NYPD ruling on parade permitting. The permit ruling has the support of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Quinn, an out lesbian, claims to be the voice of the LGBTQ community. However, despite public outcry and opposition to the new parade regulations, Quinn has turned her back on civil rights.

The NYPD now requires a permit for any public gathering, or 'parade', of 50 people or more. Section 1A of the city ruling defines a parade as "any march, motorcade, caravan, promenade, foot, or bicycle race, or similar event of any kind, procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, or other devices move by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway."

Giving the NYPD the power to deny permits for any public gathering is a dangerous act. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right granted to us by the Constitution. As City Council Speaker and a prominent public figure who claims to speak for the queer community, it is Quinn’s responsibility to work against these repressive policies.

Quinn states, "The New York City Police Department's proposed regulations for when and what activities will require parade permits are a substantial improvement over regulations proposed earlier. We are very pleased that the NYPD was receptive to our suggestions for a practical approach to traffic and public safety issues (NYT 10/18/06)."

The Stonewall rebellion that sparked the modern gay liberation movement shattered an environment of police repression and social marginalization. Stonewall veterans and all people who have fought in our struggle have worked tirelessly to reverse the systematic exclusion of LGBTQ people from public life. We, along with all of our allies in the Civil Rights movement - communities of color, immigrant communities, the women's movement - are the ones who paved the way for Quinn to become City Council Speaker. Can one imagine if the gay community had asked the police for a permit in 1970, when we gathered for our first Gay Pride parade to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Stonewall? What would the police response have been? For Quinn to claim to "represent the gay community" and then support the denial of our civil liberties is a level of hypocrisy rarely seen.

As members of the LGBTQ community, we feel it is crucial to show our opposition to Quinn and make it adamantly clear she does not represent us. We will gather on Thursday, April 19 at 4:00 PM at City Hall Park for a "Parade Without a Permit" to let Speaker Quinn and the rest of City Council know that the police are not supposed to write laws. We will let Speaker Quinn know that neither she, nor other City Council members who support this ruling, can take queer and allied support for granted.

Radical Homosexual Agenda  email

                * this is queer, but it really ain't a parade!

Parade Without a Permit Arrestees!

  – stills captured from video on NYC indymedia site

The Radical Homosexual Agenda (R.H.A.) and our allies - including Times Up, Assemble for Rights NYC, and the Radical Cheerleaders - pulled off a fantastic "Parade Without a Permit" yesterday. It was militant, flamboyant, and fun, with well over 100 people coming out to challenge the NYPD's new regulations attacking freedom of assembly, as well as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's hypocritical endorsement of it.

After marching in City Hall Park for a while, we then we marched into the streets, occupying the streets with chants and drumming until we reached Battery Park. Again and again the cops tried to push us off the streets and onto the sidewalks, but we stood our ground and refused to give way. The cops, City Council, and Quinn learned that we have always been able to peacefully assemble without a permit; that is not going to change with or without this law!

The police responded to our peaceful parade with extreme agression and there is an investigation into possible brutality. There were 3 arrests and we are asking for JAIL SOLIDARITY -- TODAY, Friday April 20th from 12:00 noon until they are released.

Please go to 100 Center Street between Leonard and White, where the arrested are being held and will be arraigned later today. Bring food, alcohol wipes to wipe off the filth of the tombs so that they can eat, and anything with caffeine in it.

Give them a big hug when they come out because they deserve it!  Meanwhile, the fight against this new regulation is not over! Stay tuned.

 Raw Police brutality, spawned by Kelly, Bloomberg and Quinn

  [ images from Glass Bead Collective & Time's Up! Video Collective ]                

Last night I saw the footage from the Glass Bead Collective and Time's Up! Video Collective, having documented the most violent images of Police aggression I've witnessed in almost twenty years of street activism.  -- James Wagner


   With Friends Like Quinn, Who Needs Enemies



Groups grapple with 'parade' rule

By Justin Rocket Silverman     amNew York  

Federal Court Upholds Law Requiring Permit for Groups

April 18, 2007
A federal court upheld a city law requiring bicycle groups of more then 50 people to have a permit before riding in the street.

The court says large groups will still have to have to get parade permits for a preset route before a large ride to allow police to manage traffic problems.

The ruling comes after members of the Critical Mass bike group filed a federal lawsuit alleging their constitutional rights had been violated by the law, which went into effect in February.

January 29, 2007    In light of new parade rules announced by the NYPD last week, groups as varied as funeral parlor directors and walking tour operators are wondering if their work will now require a police permit.

The new rules define a "parade" as "any procession or race that consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles or bicycles." While legal observers say police will use the change to target the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, it will apply equally to any group larger than 49 people.

"Does this mean that if you are on a school trip and crossed the street as a group, you would need a parade permit?" asked Peter T. Barbur, of the City Bar Association. "This is inevitably going to lead to selective enforcement. You are giving the police too much power to decide who they want to go after or not." Maryann Carroll, executive director of the Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association, said her group specifically had asked police brass to exempt funeral processions. The request was denied. "It can take up to several months to get a parade permit, and that obviously won't work for funerals," said Carroll.

The new rules give police the authority to arrest marchers, 'Critical Mass' cyclists, and perhaps even walking tour participants, on charges of "parading without a permit." Lawyers said the charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 days in jail and a $25 fine. "We are licensed New York City tour guides and we abide by all traffic rules," said Seth Kamil, owner of Big Onion Walking Tours. "If people on a walking tour were arrested for parading without a permit, the amount of press we would receive would be staggering. It would be one of those defining moments for our company."

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment about how the new rules will be enforced for funeral processions and walking tours. Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne defended the change last week, saying it would be criticized "no matter how reasonably the rules are drawn." Some groups, wary of falling on the wrong side of the law, already are looking at ways to make sure they don't qualify as a "parade." "We can't pretend this new rule doesn't exist," said Ed Ravin of the Five Borough Bicycle Club, which organizes group rides. "The NYPD says any 'recognizable group' of 50 or more can be a parade. That really leaves it up to the discretion of the police officer. We are looking at ways to deal with this." 


     Suggested Reading:

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
– First Amendment of the United States Constitution

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution held that the right of assembly was originally closely tied to the right to petition. One significant case involving the two rights was United States v. Cruikshank (1876).  There, the Supreme Court held that citizens may "assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances." Essentially, it was held that the right to assemble was secondary, while the right to petition was primary. Later cases, however, have expanded the meaning of the right to assembly. Hague v. CIO (1939), for instance, refers to the right to assemble for the "communication of views on national questions" and for "disseminating information."     WIKIPEDIA

   related websites:

Critical Mass
The Radical Homosexual Agenda
Assemble for Rights NYC
NYC indymedia
Transportation Alternatives
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Five Borough Bicycle Club

The Radical Homosexual Agenda (R.H.A.) provides grass-roots support for queer youth and adults entrenched along the frontlines of the homophobia crisis in America. Frequently recognizable by our regulation pink army helmets, we believe in education and advocacy via direct action, sensationalism, and participatory arts-n-crafts for all. With over 23,000 Google results and counting, the Radical Homosexual Agenda has long been a household name from coast to coast.    To join our mailing list and receive info about upcoming events and actions, send a blank e-mail to:

"Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has provided as a safe haven for crackpots." Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 US 503, 513 (1969).    This message may have been intercepted and read by government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, NSA without notice or warrant or knowledge of sender or recipient in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, the New York State Constitution, and other authority.



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