SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, June 9, San Francisco Board of Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Shamann Walton, and Matt Haney announced the proposal of “The Right to Protest Safely Act.” The legislation will ban the use of certain crowd control methods used by San Francisco law enforcement against protesters.
Prohibited methods would include the use of rubber bullets, flexible baton rounds, flash bangs, stun grenades, and chemical agents such as tear gas, pepper spray, and mace. The use of military vehicles and equipment would also be prohibited.
In a tweet, Ronen said: “Crafting leg w/ @MattHaneySF & @shamannwalton to prevent SFPD from using dangerous weapons like tear gas & rubber bullets against protesters. There is no reason for using potentially deadly force at people speaking out against injustice.”
Walton added, “We have to do better to protect people’s freedom of speech and right to assemble; military weaponry has no place at peaceful protests. Supervisors Haney, Ronen and I, are crafting legislation to ensure the Right to Protest without intimidation!”
One Twitter user responded to Ronen’s tweet saying: “Nobody got tear gassed or shot with rubber bullets for protesting lawfully and peacefully. These things happen when unlawful assemblies refuse to disperse. And by the way, is she okay with right wing protestors speaking out against what they perceive as injustice?”
The Right to Protest Safely Act will be introduced at upcoming Board of Supervisors and Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee assemblies. Other Bay Area cities such as Berkeley have already voted to permanently prohibit the use of tear gas against protesters.