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Freedom of Speech$
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Eric Barendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.001.0001

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Meetings, Protest, and Public Order

Meetings, Protest, and Public Order

Chapter:
(p.268) VIII Meetings, Protest, and Public Order
Source:
Freedom of Speech
Author(s):

ERIC BARENDT

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.003.0008

This chapter examines the scope of legal rights to hold meetings on the streets and other public fora. It considers the relationship of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The relationship of freedom of speech and of assembly to public order is also discussed, along with two techniques that may be used to limit the scale of the public order problems. The convenors of political demonstrations on the streets may be required to give notice of a proposed march, to allow the police to take steps to avoid disorder and disruption to the life of the community by the imposition of conditions on its route and timing. Secondly, in some sensitive contexts, in particular those of anti-abortion protest, buffer zones may be set up between demonstrators and others who may feel harassed or intimidated by the protest. The use of these techniques enables the courts to strike a balance between free speech and other important interests.

Keywords:   freedom of speech, public order, meetings, protests, notice requirements, buffer zones, public fora, freedom of assembly, political demonstrations

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