The Right to Protest
The right to protest comes from our right to assemble, right of association and our right to freedom of speech. But that does not mean restrictions can’t be placed on protests. People who want to shut you up will place a lot of restrictions in the hopes that you will violate them.
The ACLU put out a message on Twitter, letting you know what your rights are. Here is their tweet.
KNOW YOUR PROTEST RIGHTS
1. You don’t need a permit to protest in response to breaking news and you don’t need a permit to march in the streets or along sidewalks, as long as you’re not obstructing traffic or access to buildings.
2. When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police.
3. If you believe your rights have been violated, when you can, write down everything you remember, get contact information for witnesses, and take photographs of any injuries.
4. If you get stopped by the police, ask if you’re free to go. If they say yes, walk away.
5. If you get arrested, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t sign, say or agree to anything without a lawyer present.
They Want You to Break the Law
Some states are trying to make you a criminal for exercising your right to protest. They apply ridiculous restrictions and are attempting to make violations a felony offense. There’s a reason for this. Some states do not allow felons to vote. That’s right, it’s a round about way to take away your right to vote.
Take Alan W. Silberberg (@IdeaGov)’s advice.
Reminder to all my friends out in streets doing protest. In some states, they want to arrest you, give you a record so you can’t vote. Do not engage w counter protesters. Do remain peaceful. Do remain within the legal limits of how + where you are protesting. Stay smart + safe.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Don’t forget that the Supreme Court struck down the requirement that law enforcement must read you your rights. They are no longer required to give you the Miranda warning, BUT YOU STILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. USE IT!
Safety at All Times
There are people who are willing to hurt you to shut you up. Even people in government. Remember, at least one state has passed a law making it legal to run over protesters. Try to go with a group. Even walking back to your vehicle after a protest can be dangerous. Plan accordingly.
Understand that there will be people at the protest who are pretending to be part of the crowd, but are really there to cause problems. Watch out for them. Do not let them rile you up into committing crimes such as property destruction or assault. They want to make you look bad. They are hoping to turn public opinion against you.
And lastly, don’t depend on the police to protect you. Quite often, they can be the biggest threat of bodily harm you face.