Boston mayor proposes limits on protests at private homes
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who has been targeted in early mornings by people outside her home protesting her city employee coronavirus vaccine mandate, filed an ordinance Monday that would limit when protesters can picket.
The rule would allow protesters to demonstrate outside an individual home only from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., her office announced. It would protect any home, not just those of elected officials.
It would not affect marches or protests passing through residential areas that are not aimed at a particular home.
Protesters have been shouting loudly, banging drums and blowing whistles outside the mayor’s Roslindale home as early as 7 a.m. for weeks, disrupting not only the mayor’s family, but also her neighbors.
“Boston has a strong legacy of activism, and it’s important to uphold and protect the ability to speak out and advocate fiercely to keep our democracy strong,” Wu said in a statement. “But in a moment of divided national politics, we can’t normalize the harassment and hate spilling over into our communities.”
The city said similar regulations in other states have been upheld in court.
“This ordinance will add to our existing laws to stop harassment of residents in their private homes, while respecting the right to protest,” said acting Police Commissioner Gregory Long said. “People have a right to privacy and peace in their homes.”
Boston City Council President Ed Flynn also expressed support for such an ordinance.
“Public protests at people’s homes must have reasonable limits,” he said.
Violators could face fines starting at $100 for a first offense.
The ordinance requires approval of the city council.