Plattsburgh State students head up the steps of City Hall in hopes the Common Council will allow them to hold an annual rally in the streets.
Photo by Stephen Bartlett.
“Safety is our priority,” he said.
The mayor explained that if the measure was approved to allow them to hold the event, restricted to the sidewalk, he would contact law enforcement to inform them it had been approved, but that there is a “difference of opinion.”
Councilor Timothy Carpenter said if they were allowed to walk in the street, then all groups would have to be afforded the same opportunity. He also said that if the rally was approved for the sidewalks and marchers walked in the streets anyway he would not approve such an event in the future.
Councilor James Calnon pointed out that a group walking the street would technically be a parade and must apply for the appropriate permit.
Sharoni and others insisted they were allowed to walk in the streets in the past.
They said after the approval was given they coordinated with university and city police to prepare for the rally. During the rally, city police provided assistance while they marched in the street. She said she did not understand how all of this could have occurred if the groups were only given permission to walk on the sidewalks in past years.
“I want to express my unhappiness at the inclination not to continue to approve the Take Back the Night march in the street,” she told the Common Council at the April 4 meeting. “We have been marching respectfully. Why has this changed?”
She said she expects at least 300 individuals to attend the event.
Jamila Hinton, a Plattsburgh State student and president of the Center for Women’s Concerns, turned to the minutes of a Common Council meeting in April of 2010. During that meeting, she said, it clearly shows the request was to march in the streets and the event was then approved by city officials.