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Take Back the Night defeated?

Council seeks to restrict marchers to sidewalks

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.

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.

“We have a video of us on the streets with police cars in front of us and behind us,” said Natalie Spiess, a Plattsburgh State student and secretary of the Center for Women’s Concerns. “Why would that be if the Common Council didn’t approve us to march in the streets?”

Elizabeth Cohen, a city resident and Plattsburgh State professor said it was a “fair request” to have a peaceful protest in the street against sexual violence.

But city officials stood firm regarding the April 21 event.

“I have been mayor for almost six years,” Kasprzak said. “Not one vote for this event has ever been passed to allow anyone to walk at night in the streets.”

Perhaps it had been done without the council’s permission, he suggested.

“We have done our research and will not debate this,” he said.

Calnon said the point of the event is for women to take back their freedom to walk at night free from violence, but that freedom has been to walk at night on the sidewalk.

“Taking back the night is being able to walk safely,” said Councilor Christopher Jackson. “You don’t normally walk safely in the street.”

The Common Council, absent George Rabideau, voted unanimously to approve the event, on the sidewalk.

As a result, there will be no downtown march this year.

“Agreeing to march under the new conditions set by the council would have betrayed our sisters around the world,” Sharoni said. “Sadly, Plattsburgh will be one of the few places around the world without a Take Back the Night march in the streets this year.”

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