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Law Changes Out of Left Field

Wilmington City Council proposes ordinance to silence Pro-Palestinian protesters who have continually demonstrated outside the Highlands home of a prominent Zionist U.S Senator

 · June 17, 2024
Wilmington City Councilmember Nathan Field is confronted by Pro-Palestinian activists on the sidewalk outside the Louis L. Redding City/County Building on French St. after the his proposed ordinance was voted out of committee, June 10, 2024 | R.E. Vanella

On June 10, the Wilmington City Council Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a proposed noise ordinance that would amend Chapter 11 of the city code. The change to the law is a new regulation that would prohibit demonstrations targeting specific residences. This effort is a blatant attempt at silencing anti-genocide protests aimed at disrupting elected official Sen. Chris Coons, who has been complicit in directly aiding the genocide in occupied Palestine. 

City Council member Nathan Field, who proposed the ordinance, stated that the rich white neighbors in the Highlands neighborhood (within Field’s representative district 8), were complaining about our protests, stating their neighborhood was being victimized and targeted. A few residents from one of the most affluent residential areas of the city claimed that their children were fearful and that we were “harassing” neighbors. They also stated they felt trapped, unable to leave their homes in fear. 

As a participant in the demonstrations and resident of the 8th district, I can tell you these neighbors are not fearful or traumatized, and neither are their children. They are not “trapped.” They come out in hordes, furious, throwing tantrums, and some have even thrown stink bombs at us. They are upset that people are against the genocide and the strong Zionist sentiment festering in that neighborhood is clear. 

The reason we are there is simple. All other means to talk to our senators have failed and they refuse to meet with us and still continue to accept money from agents of a foreign entity, Israel, while simultaneously continuing to vote to send more of our money and weapons to said entity. 

Where do we take our voices? Legally it’s right where we have been protesting. This ordinance targets amplified noises like bullhorns; however, there are already noise ordinance laws for protests in public spaces. Our protests use public sidewalks, and we exercise our rights given the laws in place. This is a nakedly political move from our City Council to directly silence the outrage of residents.

Where will this go next? We are eternally grateful for council-members Shanè Darby and Trippi Congo for defending our First Amendment rights and voting NO to this outrageous and fascist ordinance. Many City Council members were not physically present during the vote, but to the four who voted YES — Nathan Field, James Spadola, Yolanda McCoy and Al Mills (who voted remotely via Zoom) —we will remember how you tried to silence your constituents when election time comes, and we will fight for our rights to continue to call out this government’s hand in the genocide in Palestine. We will see to it that our rights will be protected. Politicians like those who voted this ordinance out of committee will have no seat in power as their voices are not for the people, but for capital.

The ordinance will now be considered for approval by the full city council on Thursday, June 20th at 6:00 p.m inside the council chamber at 800 French St., Wilmington. Join me there to voice opposition and to protect our right of dissent and to protest one of the most politically powerful men in the country, our neighbor Chris.

Daisy Rivers is an activist living in Wilmington. She believes in the power of the people, and focuses her work on mobilizing communities against systems of oppression.

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