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Free speech battle: LAPD refuses permit for People’s Summit for Democracy

Photo: Organizers in Los Angeles doing outreach for The People’s Summit

Liberation News is reposting this urgent appeal circulated by the ANSWER Coalition regarding the People’s Summit for Democracy taking place June 8-10 in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Police Department has refused to grant a permit to the People’s Summit for Democracy for a legal mass march scheduled to coincide with Biden’s Summit of the Americas on Friday, June 10. This is an outrageous denial of the First Amendment rights to free speech and to peacefully assemble. A press conference has just concluded Los Angeles calling on all progressive people to demand that city authorities reverse this decision immediately. We encourage all supporters to make phone calls, send letters and post online to spread this news far and wide. 

The Summit of Americas is shaping up badly for the White House, as Biden’s exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua has led to nearly 20 heads of state saying they will not attend. Meanwhile, the People’s Summit has been gaining momentum over the last few weeks with endorsements from major unions and immigrant rights organizations, and prominent speakers coming from across the country and the world. Los Angeles authorities are trying to cover up this political embarrassment by preventing a march altogether. The ANSWER Coalition, and the other convening organizations of the People’s Summit, are committed to exercising our free speech rights and marching regardless. 

Register to attend the People’s Summit here.

Official People’s Summit press release:

The Los Angeles Police Department has refused to grant a permit for a legal mass march scheduled to coincide with the Summit of the Americas on Friday, June 10, 2022. Organizers for the People’s Summit for Democracy say that, “the LAPD conduct constitutes an illegal denial of constitutional rights for those engaged in first amendment protected activity.” They vow to demonstrate regardless on June 10.

Organizers of the People’s Summit filed a permit request on February 25 for a free speech protected activity. 95 days have passed, and the LAPD has dragged its feet and not responded with any concrete steps to move forward in the application process. The LAPD has attempted to shift the blame about the delay in issuing the permit to the Secret Service and the Federal Government, but we know this is a stalling tactic.

This egregious violation of free speech and the infringement on our democratic right to protest goes against the very values that Joe Biden and the US government claim to uphold in the Summit of the Americas. Further, the maneuver threatens to undermine a principal avenue for progressive people in this country to advocate for social justice.

Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA expressed, “The People’s Summit will lift up all those issues important to our people but left out of that other presidential summit across town: the rights of immigrants, women and workers, the rebuilding and protection of democratic norms, the security of families. We will present a different vision of the Western Hemisphere as a place of peace, freedom and prosperity for all that excludes no country, no faith, no race, and no gender.”

Regardless of the outcome regarding the permit request, the people of the Americas will march on the streets of Los Angeles on June 10 to Biden’s Summit of Exclusion and make our voices heard. We will see you at Los Angeles Technical Trade College from June 8-10 and in the streets on June 10!

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