A protest permit or parade permit is permission granted by a governmental agency for a demonstration to be held in a particular venue at a particular time. Failing to obtain a permit may lead to charges of parading without a permit. The requirement of a permit is sometimes denounced as an infringement of free speech, as permits are denied on spurious grounds or protestors are corralled into free speech zones. Permits are sometimes denied on grounds that the protest will create a security risk. There seems to be evidence that the available venues for protests are shrinking in number; that citizens have experienced increasing difficulty in gaining unrestricted access to them; and that such venues are no longer where most people typically congregate in large numbers. In Washington, DC, the National Park Service Police, U.S. Capitol Police, and Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia have an elaborate permitting system. Many famous people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. have been arrested for protesting without a permit.
^The Interaction of State Repression, Protest Form and Protest Sponsor Strength During the Transition from Communism in Minsk, Belarus, 1990-1995, 6 (2), Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Fall 2001, pp. 129–150
^D Mitchell, LA Staeheli (2005), Permitting protest: parsing the fine geography of dissent in America, International Journal of Urban
^Places of Protest: The Public Forum in Principle and Practice, 11 (2), Mobilization: An International Quarterly, June 2006, pp. 229–247
^Donatella Della Porta, Herbert Reiter, Policing protest: the control of mass demonstrations in Western democracies