Main | Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NYPD Mandates Shorter Parades

If you're one of the folks who never makes it through the entire Pride parade, you may be in luck. NYC's parades will have to be shorter in duration and in route according to a new rule issued by the NYPD.
On Monday, the department announced that starting on April 1, the city’s parades must cut the distances they cover by 25 percent — and also not be more than five hours long. The scaled-down celebrations will cost $3.1 million less for police presence, the department said, and will help it avoid cuts in “essential police services,” like investigating crime and terrorism threats. [snip] “I personally was wondering, how are they going to do this?” said Arthur Finn, co-chairman of Heritage of Pride, which produces the LGBT Pride March, traditionally a six-hour event. “If it’s 5 o’clock and ten of thousands of people are on the street, are they going to say, ‘O.K., you’re going to have to go home now?’ ”

Madelyn Lugo, a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, said her organization had already shortened its march by two hours, starting at 11 a.m. and now ending at 5 p.m., at the Police Department’s behest. Before that, she said, each marching group or organization could invite hundreds of marchers. Now, she said, the cap is 50 people each. “It’s going to be hard because of the amount of participants we have,” she said. “I don’t think we can accommodate those people in five hours.” Norman Siegel, the civil rights lawyer, said the new restrictions should be challenged in court. “New York City should not be balancing its budget by cutting historical First Amendment activities,” he said.
The rule goes into effect two weeks after this year's massive St. Patrick's Day Parade, whose grand marshal is NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Convenient!

Labels: , , ,

comments powered by Disqus