By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Opponents of the city’s recent ban on sagging pants will march today from the Lee County Courthouse to City Hall and back.
Organized by Tupelo resident Anna Perkins, the protest is meant to send municipal leaders a message about individual rights. And Perkins encourages participants to wear droopy pants and skirts in support of the cause – even if they don’t typically dress that way.
“Choosing your own clothes is one of the great things about America, it’s one of our individual liberties,” Perkins said. “It may be offensive to people, but there are a lot of things that are offensive to people. We can’t ban them all.”
The event starts at 4 p.m. on the Broadway Street side of the courthouse and is anticipated to end within one hour. It’s unclear how many protesters will attend. A Facebook page for the “Baggy Pants Parade” lists six confirmed to attend and an additional 10 people saying maybe. Perkins has obtained a parade permit.
The City Council voted 5-1 earlier this month to prohibit anyone from wearing pants or skirts that ride more than three inches below the top of the hips and expose skin or underwear.
Violators can be fined $50 the first time and up to $200 for each subsequent offense. They also could be subject to complete up to 40 hours of court-approved community service.
Because the new ordinance doesn’t go into effect until mid-March, protesters can wear sagging pants without fear of a ticket, said Police Chief Tony Carleton.
Carleton said it’s doubtful his officers will patrol the march anyway.
“We need to speak up,” Perkins said. “The city went too far this time.”