For the last several weeks, officials in the city of Lawrenceville have allowed impromptu demonstrations for groups who want to voice their opinions on concerns over current events, but as of this week, organizers for future protests will need to file a proper application per an established city ordinance.
In a statement issued Tuesday by the Lawrenceville Police Department, officials said following the approved ordinance will protect the safety of participants and others in the community, and it will allow the city to allocate proper allocation of city resources.
"As we begin to move forward, learn and grow as a community, we must do so in an organized manner. During the past few weeks, the City of Lawrenceville has worked to accommodate those wanting to express their emotions through impromptu marches and gatherings in the City. In order to protect the safety of participants, visitors and citizens, it is time for us to return to our normal operations regarding public gatherings," the statement read.
The city also will enforce state laws related to public gatherings, specifically Pedestrian in the Roadway (OCGA 40-6-96) and Illegal Stopping in the Roadway (OCGA 40-6-203) rules.
"While these acts are not only dangerous to the general public, they are also a danger to those involved in demonstrations," the statement said.
To date, demonstrations in the city have been peaceful, including one this past Sunday on the grounds of the historic courthouse calling for the removal of a Confederate monument installed in 1993.