Should You Have to Pay to Protest?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a new policy this week which could hold demonstrators at the Capitol liable for the cost of extra police or cleanup and repairs after protests. Walker is set to charge protesters $50 an hour for each police officer assigned to any demonstrations. The move has raised questions about civic responsibility and free speech for protesters.

The policy also requires permits for events at the statehouse and other state buildings and will be phased in by Dec. 16. 

Walker says the regulations are necessary to offset the cost of protests; costs from protests earlier this year ranged widely from $350,000 to $7.5 million in taxpayer money. The Occupy movement across the country has been costly as well, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s decision could set an example for other cities looking to cope with the expense of protests.

What do you think? Is Walker's move a fair way to handle the costs of protests? Or, should anyone be able to assemble without having to pay for the right?                                                                               

Photo Credit: pchgorner

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Andrew Schmidt

Andrew is a Senior at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Near Eastern Languages and Civ.

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