We Appealed to the Municipalities: Hanging Temporary Protest Signs is Permitted
Following instances in which officers instructed protestors to remove signs they temporarily hung in the public space as part of the protest, and often fined them for doing so, we appealed to the Municipalities of Jerusalem, Netanya and Rishon LeZion. Attorney Reut Shaer and Field and Freedom of Protest Coordinator Sivan Tahel argued in the appeals that the local Municipality has no authority to limit or regulate the freedom of expression, and that it has no authority to demand the licensing of temporary protest signage.
We also wrote that “Even in contexts in which the Municipality is authorized to prevent the hanging of signs, it may do so only after fairly weighing the appropriate rights of residents. Each violation to the freedom of expression must be done proportionately, reasonably, and without discrimination. The matter here was a protest sign that did not harm anybody or cause any disturbance - and still the officers insisted it could not stay in place through the end of the protest, which points to a severe defect in the exercise of judgement”.
We also asked that the Legal Advisors to the Municipalities release a clear statement mandating the Municipal Supervision Division and any other relevant body that there is no need for the Municipality to provide permits for protest signs that are placed and hung temporarily at protest sites, and that officers are not authorized to demand their removal or fine protestors for them.
Following our appeal, the Jerusalem Municipality responded on 25.5.21 that fines against activists for hanging signs in the public space will be dismissed.