Columbus Law Overlooked in Criticism of Despotic Foreign Regimes

On the drive in this morning, I heard that Egypt is cracking down on protesting again. By reporting on the story, it seems that the local and national media view such laws as violations of human rights. That’s heartening, because they are. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times summarized the new law:

Egypt’s interim president on Sunday banned public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval

It went on to explain:

Rights groups and activists immediately denounced it, saying it aims to stifle opposition, allow repressive police practices and keep security officials largely unaccountable for possible abuses.

“The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,” said Bahy Eddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of the local groups that had campaigned against the law.

The thing that puzzles me though is that we have the same kind of law right here in Columbus, Ohio.

Here’s the law right out of the Columbus City Code:

919.06 Permits.
(A) No person, in any park, shall participate in any meeting, parade or other organized activity involving more than ten (10) persons without a permit issued by tile director.
(B) No person shall fail to comply with the fee requirements or other terms and conditions of any such permit issued under the provisions of this chapter.
(C) All permits issued by the director must be exhibited in a clear and conspicuous location and produced upon the demand of any law enforcement officer.
(Ord. 1648-91.)

Go ahead, check out the source link. I’ll wait while you verify that this is actually the law in Columbus, Ohio.

The fact is that in Columbus you can’t play baseball – you can’t play football – you can’t play basketball – without a permit.

No exception is made for political protest in these public spaces.

Why do we have this law?

Same reason the tyrants in Egypt have theirs.

The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,

It’s great that the media think that this kind of law deserves attention. But how about we focus some of that attention at ourselves?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had freedom in the land of the free?

And by letting such laws stand here, don’t we give backward foreign regimes cover?

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