Talk of a crackdown on panhandling in downtown brought out protesters to City Hall on Tuesday.
A group of about 30 street musicians, panhandlers and their fans held a brief rally in front of Lawrence City Hall in an effort to convince commissioners to drop any ideas of a complete ban on panhandling in downtown.
Commissioner Aron Cromwell last month brought up the idea of a total panhandling ban for downtown, although he said street musicians likely would be allowed to apply for a city license. But commissioners have not taken any steps to enact such a ban. Instead, commissioners directed staff members to research the issue and its constitutionality.
Protesters — some who held signs that read “Don’t take away choice” — said they wanted to make their opposition to the idea known early.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone asking for help,” said Nicole Manriquez, an organizer of the protest.
Manriquez and other protesters said they supported the city’s current ban on aggressive panhandling, and believed greater police presence would address most of the concerns surrounding panhandling.