We will never give up our right to protest. That’s why DRAD is fighting back against bills that attack the right to protest and promoting proactive legislation that protects the right to protest. It’s also why we are engaging in groundbreaking journalism to expose those attacks
The right to protest is under assault. State after state is considering laws designed to chill the right to assemble. These bills include such draconian provisions as holding organizers and protesters criminally liable for the bad acts of third parties or removing legal liability for running over protesters. Other states and even the US Congress are considering bills designed to punish people for engaging in nonviolent boycotts for human rights. And prosecutors are bringing disproportionate charges against protesters with increasing regularity and in some cases using outrageous guilt by association theories to criminalize merely being present at a protest where someone else engages in vandalism.
The right to protest is essential for social change. Opponents of Black Lives Matter, anti-pipeline protests, and other social movements know that. That’s why they are pushing for bills designed to intimidate their opponents.
Anti-Protest Legislation Toolkit
Fighting an anti-protest bill in your state? The Protect Dissent Network is compiling a tool kit of opposition letters, op-eds, talking points, sample action alerts, testimony, articles and other resources developed for previous campaigns. Feel free to use and adapt for your advocacy:
- Critical Infrastructure – bills that increase penalties for protests at pipelines and other “critical infrastructure”
- Right to Boycott – bills that restrict the right to engage in political boycotts
- Campus “Free Speech” – bills that purport to protect free speech on campus, but in fact penalize protest rights
- Face Coverings – bills that criminalize covering one’s face during a protest
- Pay to Protest – bills that charge protest organizers for policing, or for damage caused by third parties
- Links – to articles about the trend of anti-protest legislation
Visit the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Anti Protest Law Tracker for up-to-date information about bills introduced/laws passed in your state.
The National Park Service is considering new regulation that would severely curtail the right to protest. Reactions to these new regulations have been overwhelming. The comment period closed on October 15. We don’t yet know the total number of comments received, but so far the NPS has counted over 71,000 comments. This count is still growing.
A broad array of civil society groups and thousands of individuals are deeply concerned about a set of proposed regulations promulgated by the National Park Service that would make it much more difficult and expensive to organize protests on the National Mall or at the White House.
The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering an outrageous bill that could be used to criminalize protest at an array of locations including gas pipelines, which the state calls “critical infrastructure.”
If a new set regulations passes, activists will face serious hurdles in organizing protests on the National Mall or at the White House, potentially making such demonstrations a thing of the past. We need your help in defending the right to protest. The National Park Service is asking for comments on their proposed regulations and they need to hear from. You have until October 15 to submit them.
On September 28, 2018, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against an Arizona anti-boycott law. Like many states, Arizona passed a law targeting supporters of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) for Palestinian human rights. The law denies state contracts to parties who boycott Israel.