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What do I need to know as an organizer?

Do I need a permit to have a protest, march, demonstration or rally?

Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) 13.44 requires event organizers apply for and obtain a permit from the City to conduct a street event. This includes any march, demonstration, assembly, parade, festival, street fair, concert or any other gathering which takes place in a public street or right-of-way.

If the event applicant wishes to utilize amplified sound, a sound permit will also be required.

For more detailed information on applying for an event permit, we ask that you use these links:

City of Berkeley Event Policies and Procedures

City of Berkeley Street Event Permit Planning Guide

Berkeley Municipal Code relating to permits for StreetEvents

After completing the required paperwork, please file it at the:

Recreation Customer Service Hub - Willard

2701 Telegraph Ave.

Berkeley, CA 94705

510-981-5150

Consequences of unpermitted events

Per BMC13.44.130, an intentional violation of this Chapter is a misdemeanor.

Should I call the police in advance of my event?

We would like to talk with organizers when you are planning your event.  We can help you plan safe routes, provide safety tips, prepare to facilitate your event and answer any questions you might have about police response.  We can also establish a liaison (point of contact person) with your leadership, should you need help during the event.  We recommend regular communication with the police liaison during the event. 

Please contact the Berkeley police Special Events Coordinator ahead of your event.  They can be reached by calling (510) 981-5821.

How can the police help?

Given enough notice, the Police Department may provide police officers or parking enforcement officers to control traffic to facilitate the protest or march.  Additionally, the Berkeley Police Department may assign officers to safeguard First Amendment activity. Officers may join the protest on bikes or on foot. 

How can organizers improve protester participant safety?

Establish safety monitors for crowd management and security. Discourage dangerous items from being brought to the event (any item that can be used as a projectile or weapon).  Make organizers and safety monitors identifiable by wearing brightly colored matching armbands, hats or shirts.  Inform your police liaison how police can identify organizers and safety monitors as well as contact information for them during the event.

Should we march or not?

If you are well organized and do not have any issues with unwanted or violent elements within your crowd, marching might be okay.  The police will assist, when possible, by blocking traffic and protecting the march as it moves through the streets.  If you do have  problems with unwanted elements, we suggest you do not march.  Marching makes it more difficult for the police to deter or stop unacceptable behavior.  If you are marching and experience problems from unwanted groups including looters, arsonists, vandals, or people fighting with or intimidating members of your event, stop and call for police assistance. 

 

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Police Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: police@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-5900
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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