April 20, 2018
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Protesters spar over Mass. town’s no-swearing bylaw

The Associated Press

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. — Several dozen people have held a profanity-laced rally on the Middleborough Town Hall lawn in the rain to protest a new bylaw allowing police to hand out $20 tickets for public swearing.

Some people shouted curse words and others carried profane posters supporting free speech. Counter-protesters who support the bylaw passed overwhelmingly two weeks ago by a town meeting also showed up.

The lunchtime rally Monday was organized by 30-year-old Adam Kokesh, a self-described libertarian who publishes podcasts online from a Virginia studio. He told the crowd police now can “steal from you if they don’t like what’s coming out of your mouth.”

But police won’t be issuing any tickets until the state attorney general determines if the bylaw making public cursing a civil offense is constitutional. Public swearing was a crime under a seldom-enforced 1968 bylaw.

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