It was a street battle pitting the champions of civility against those decrying censorship. It was not a fight for those with delicate ears.

The foul mouthed confrontation took place Monday the town hall of Middleborough, Mass., which recently banned cursing and threatened to punish it with $20 tickets.

Former Marine Adam Kokesh, 30, of Santa Fe, organized a protest against the ban, calling Middleborough’s effort to control its citizens’ speech “more offensive, vulgar and obscene than any curse word.”

“It is absolutely immoral to use the force of government against someone acting peacefully,” said Kokesh, who used Facebook to assemble the protesters.

The ban, which residents approved at a June 11 town hall meeting by a 180-53 vote, would make public profanity a non-criminal offense. It would replace an old bylaw, deemed unenforceable by police, under which the offense was criminal.

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