Boston Mayor Wu seeks limits on residential picketing after weeks of noisy protests outside her own home

Michelle Wu protest limit ordinance
  • Boston Mayor Michelle Wu proposed a new city ordinance on Monday that would limit protests outside private homes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. after angry protesters gathered outside her house for weeks protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.
  • The protesters would reportedly organize outside her Roslindale home as early as 7 a.m. to shout, bang on drums and blow on whistles. The rally not only disturbed Wu’s family but her neighbors as well.
  • “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. Boston must model not only bold, urgent policies, but also inclusive, empowering politics."
  • Boston City Council President Ed Flynn and Police Commissioner Gregory Long voiced their support of Wu’s ordinance.

Several key Boston officials have voiced their support for Mayor Michelle Wu’s new proposed ordinance that would limit protests and picketing outside private residences between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The new ordinance, filed on Monday, would protect all homes from “targeted residential picketing” and would reportedly not apply to gatherings, marches or rallies that do not target a specific person or resident, according to NBC Boston.

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. Boston must model not only bold, urgent policies, but also inclusive, empowering politics.”

The legislation comes as protesters have continued to gather for weeks outside the mayor’s home in Roslindale in opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates for city employees. The mandate encountered opposition in January and was blocked by an appellate judge in February.

Wu was also subjected to racist remarks in December 2021 for her city-wide mandate that those entering indoor establishments be vaccinated, NextShark previously reported.

Protesters would gather as early as 7 a.m. outside Wu’s home to create noise by shouting, banging drums and blowing whistles. The rallies have reportedly not only disturbed Wu’s family but her neighbors as well, according to NBC.

Wu previously described the protestors outside her home to Boston Public Radio on Jan. 18 as “people who feel that the way to get their point across, or express their strong emotion, is through violating boundaries of decency, of what’s appropriate,” Newsweek reported.

I hope my neighbors will forgive me at some point,” Wu added.

Wu’s most recent ordinance has received some support from several key Boston officials, including Boston City Council President Ed Flynn.“Public protests at people’s homes must have reasonable limits,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

This ordinance will add to our existing laws to stop harassment of residents in their private homes while respecting the right to protest,” Police Commissioner Gregory Long was quoted as saying. “People have a right to privacy and peace in their homes.”

Speaking to WBUR’s “Radio Boston” on Monday, Wu said the city “has a strong legacy of ensuring people have a voice” and that she continues to value and protect “the right to speak your mind, to be part of a healthy, robust democracy, to give that accountability and pushback.”

At the same time, we’re at a moment in our national politics that is quite divided. We see that spilling over into rhetoric that feeds rising hate,” Wu added.

When the goal becomes less about having a right to be heard and more about repeatedly taking away a community’s sleep every single day at 7 a.m. just to be sure you can try to verge on breaking the will of the community, that is harassment. Boston is better than that,” Wu continued.

Featured Image via Michelle Wu

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