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Supreme Court blasts license requirement for street performers in downtown San José

April 11, 2015

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, on Friday revoked an ordinance passed by the Municipality of San José requiring downtown street performers to get a permit.

Justices unanimously accepted a complaint filed by two citizens who said the city’s requirement “was a violation of freedom of expression, religion, and assembly.”

Municipal officials in February issued a ban on “spontaneous events” on the capital’s streets, sidewalks and boulevards. The ban applied to musicians, clowns, jugglers, and even preachers or people collecting signatures.

The directive stated that those interested in performing or addressing people in a public space should first submit a written request. Then they would have to attend a hearing before a special committee whose members would decide whether or not to grant a permit.

The full process would take about a month, the Municipality reported at the time.

Sala IV’s justices also ordered the city council president and municipal police director to refrain from issuing future prohibitions.

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