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Brea Considers Charging Protesters For Security Costs

BREA (CBSLA) — It looks like a clash between law and order and free speech in Orange County.

As KCAL9/CBS2's Stacey Butler reports, the City of Brea is considering charging protesters for costs incurred during their demonstrations.

On Tuesday night protesters showed up at the Brea City Council in force, determined to fight a proposed ordinance that would require protesters to get a permit to gather and possibly force them to pay for needed police.

"It's about a thing called the Constitution," said protester Gary Bianco. "They're trying to pass a law that would take away our First Amendment right to free assembly. It's just unacceptable."

The ACLU says it plans to fight the proposed ordinance, saying it restricts free speech.

"It's very unfortunate that elected officials are trying to limit their constituents' rights to use their First Amendment right to assemble in public spaces," said Cynthia Valencia, from the ACLU.

But shoppers and business owners in downtown Brea, where Republican Rep. Ed Royce has his office, have complained that recent protests in front of his office have gotten more violent.

In October, one man was arrested after plowing into a crowd gathered to protest immigration policies.

While some want the ordinance to restrict protests and keep the peace, protesters told the city council this isn't the way to do it.

A long list of protesters got up before the council Tuesday night and spoke their mind.

The council didn't vote on it. They plan to do that mid-January.

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