The cost to protest at the National Mall might soon go up

News

WASHINGTON D.C. (News4Utah)- In these divisive times, protests can be messy.

The National Park Service is considering dramatically raising fees charged to groups that sponsor speeches, demonstrations, and other events on the National Mall and other Park Service locations in Washington, DC. 

Park service spokesperson Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles says free speech events and other demonstrations are costly for the park service.

“The ‘Occupy DC’ a few years ago was well over $400,000 in support from United States park police,” she explained. “The Woman’s March recently carried a pretty heavy cost.”

Right now demonstrators only pay a small permit fee.

Officials say charging organizers more money could help the Park Service pay for security, event management and other expenses. 

The National Park Service says it issues roughly 800 permits for demonstrations each year.

Officials say the proposed updates are part of a larger effort to streamline services and improve the permit process, but opponents say charging demonstrators is an attack on free speech.

Carl Messineo with Partnership for Civil Justice is against the plan.

He says imposing new fees gives an unfair advantage to groups with big bucks and corporate sponsors.

He fears it could silence small grassroots organizations

“They can’t afford to pay the potential tens of thousands of dollars of potential cost recovery,” he said.

Park officials say the proposed fees are not a done deal.

Both sides agree the public’s voice should be heard.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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