Friday, October 25, 2013

Artists and Allies Continue to Blanket Downtown at Latest Sidewalk Sit-In

On October 24, community members joined street performers and artists for a "blanket sit-in" on the sidewalk along Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. The 24th was the day that a new city ordinance takes effect that restricts the amount of space artists, musicians, and petitioners may use downtown.

Regular protests have been held since September when the Santa Cruz City Council first proposed reducing the space allowed for street vendors, artists, performers and others exercising their first amendment rights downtown from 16 square feet to 12. Blankets have been banned as a form of "display device" on which artists (and anyone else who wishes to display something downtown for any reason) may show their work, and the allowed amount of space between people with displays was also reduced.

The new 12 square feet limit equates to approximately three squares on the sidewalk, and some demonstrators used chalk to show the public the new amount of space allotted to them.

Sitting on the sidewalk for any reason has been outlawed on Pacific Avenue for years, and writing with chalk is also illegal.

The sit-in was co-sponsored by the Committee for Fairness & Equal Opportunity for Artisans and Musicians, and HUFF - Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom.

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