COMMENT: A fairly obvious excuse to curtail free speech…

Freeman Klopott
Washington Examiner
November 29, 2010

Wearing a mask while protesting outside a residence without telling D.C. police first could now get you arrested.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a strongly worded bill to deal with an animal rights group that has been known to wear masks and appear unannounced outside District residents’ homes shouting things like “You should die.” Residents have been complaining to their council members that they felt “terrorized.” Critics of the bill say it’s too broad and limits First Amendment rights.

The animal rights group in question, Defending Animal Rights Today and Tomorrow is the local offshoot of Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty. The international group was set up in 1996 to organize protests against Huntington Life Sciences, a European company that provides animals for corporate science experiments.

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Now, police have the authority to arrest the protesters — groups of three or more — on sight if they:

» Fail to inform police before a protest;

» Protest outside a residence between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.;

» Wear masks.

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