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Time’s Almost Up on New Parade Regs

10:20 AM EST on January 29, 2007

After months of debate, the NYPD's new parade regulations aimed at pedestrian and bicycle demonstrations which critics say were designed specifically to target Critical Mass rides were quietly filed on Jan. 26, and the 30-day clock has started ticking on their implementation. The new rules require a parade permit for any "procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway."

Associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Christopher Dunn was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "We still do not believe that lawful rides, with as few as 50 bikes, should require police permits." But he characterized the new rules as "a substantial improvement" over earlier versions, which were worded much more vaguely and could have been applied to as few as two pedestrians or bicycles.

Defending the new regulations, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "Some critics will find fault no matter how reasonably the rules are drawn." Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has supported tightening parade rules, said she would be monitoring their implementation, "to ensure we strike the proper balance between protection of civil liberties with the need for public order." She won't be the only one watching.

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