Taking Your First Amendment Rights to the Public Square
Independence Park now has a rectangular granite plaza where protesting and public assembly is sanctioned. It's a kind of Hyde Park in Philadelphia. It's located on the eastern side of the block containing the Liberty Bell Pavilion and the President's House site, and a block north of Independence Hall.
People's Plaza features the First Amendment, and provides electricity and other needs for groups to use the space for public assembly. A Park press release states, "The Park receives over 300 requests each year for permits to hold public events or gatherings in the park. When park management considers permits to gather anywhere in the park, the park does not consider the message that the group will be sharing or the political affiliation of the group or individual submitting the permit application. The content of the message is protected under the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech."
Opponents claim that the plaza is actually an abridgement of the freedom of assembly by creating a "protest zone," thus dampening the appeal of the location. But remember, if you want to protest in People's Plaza about People's Plaza, you must first get a permit!
- Location: Fifth and Market Streets (Map)