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 report documents illegal treatment of water protectors by law enforcement and courts. It charges this conduct as violations of constitutional and human rights law. The report calls for government accountability and drastic changes in U.S. practices towards Indigenous environmental protectors and their supporters.
“It was harder than it needed to be to convince our lawmakers that someone chaining themselves to a tree at a pipeline construction site is not the same as destroying a pipeline.”
Throughout the states that saw major teacher strikes, retaliation has come in the form of threatening freedom of speech, assembly, and association. The goal of many of the laws are not only to make striking illegal, but to use the very communities that teachers struck for as political fodder.