Minneapolis, Bloomington eye protester registration for RNC

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As the Twin Cities prepares for the flurry of activity surrounding the Republican National Convention in September, some cities are looking to regulate political protest.

Minneapolis has been mulling over a protest registration ordinance. After several more stringent proposals were met with protest, council member Paul Ostrow has drafted a “voluntary protest registration” resolution (PDF), to be debated at City Hall on Wednesday.

The resolution “encourages” anyone planning a public assembly to register with the city. Anyone looking to hold a protest event with more than 50 attendees that might interfere with pedestrian traffic “must provide notice of the assembly to City staff and obtain plan approval.”

But those words “must provide” have no teeth. The resolution says, “failure to provide notice or obtain an approval plan shall not be an offense under the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances.”

The city of Bloomington is also looking at regulating protesters, particularly over concerns that delegates to the RNC will be staying in Bloomington hotels and might be the target of protests. The ordinance will require protest groups of 25 or more to apply for a permit if they are protesting on public land.