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 fact that they were introduced is troublesome and dangerous. It is through protest, an essential part of American life,that we are given the abilityto speak out and challenge events and injustices. That power should be protected, not infringed upon, so that it can continue to shape and influence our American polity.
The National Park Service wants to start charging fees to hold protests on the National Mall as part of a new set of regulations the agency is proposing. They are also eyeing new restrictions on several public sidewalks in DC overseen by the Park Service, including in front of the White House and in front of the Trump hotel.
Trump’s Department of Education Is Trying to Turn Support for Palestine Into A Civil Rights Violation
Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s choice to head the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right (OCR), is moving forward with perverting civil rights law to silence student activism he opposes: advocacy for Palestine and Palestinian human rights.
Americans turn to protest because it works. Whether fighting for civil rights, women’s suffrage, or to improve workplace conditions, America’s robust tradition of free speech and dissent offers a powerful retort to the forces trying to preserve the status quo.
Do you think it’s embarrassing that our country “allows” protests? As an organization that has defended the right to protest for nearly six decades we don’t think so. And I know you don’t think so either. But Donald Trump does.