Let's say you want to hold a march of your own, but civil disobedience really isn't your thing. It may be something you've never considered before, but if you find it's time you and a few hundred like-minded individuals took a stand, here's a few things you'll need to do.
Falling under the city of Charleston's rules on parades — which also include marches, picketing, and demonstrations — anyone wishing to hold a gathering of 50 or more people is required to obtain a permit from the chief of police. No permit shall be granted for a march or demonstration set to start before 8 a.m. or end after 8 p.m. under the city's ordinance.
The city requests that all applications for permits should be filed no less than three days before the demonstration is set to take place. Applications must include the contact information for the person or organization leading the demonstration, the date and time of the event, the route to be traveled, the location of any assembly areas, and a statement as to whether the march will occupy all or only a portion of the width of the streets along the route.
If you're looking to hold a massive rally in a public park, you'll need to contact the city Recreation Office. One challenge is going to be finding a date when the public park you have your eye on is available. A permit is required for all organized events at any city park, facility, or field, and a special events permit may be required depending on the complexity of the application. For huge gatherings that may have to gain approval from the city's Special Events Committee, organizers can expect a much longer, more intricate application process. The city recommends allowing at least 45 days for this process.
A big part of organizing a rally can be insuring that you have enough toilets for people. If there is an insufficient number of public restrooms where you plan to gather — and there will be — the city recommends one porta-potty for every 150 people.
Those applying for a special event permit are also required to provide adequate security for the event, which can involve hiring off-duty Charleston police officers or private security personnel. The cost of hiring off-duty Charleston police: $25 per hour for each officer for a minimum of four hours. You can see how the cost of holding a large-scale rally can start to add up.
Once everything is said and done with your city-sanctioned march or rally, you'll need to start the clean-up process. Applicants are responsible for tidying up the site after a special event and the site must be cleared within 72 hours after the end of the event.