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.
As draconian anti-protest bills, known as ‘critical infrastructure’ bills, make their way through state legislatures in Illinois and Texas, coalitions in both states are growing and becoming more vocal in opposition.
In states red and blue across the country, legislators are joining with corporate interests to undermine the ability of grassroots groups to protest the construction of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.
Elected officials in South Dakota aren’t even trying to hide their cozy relationship with TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline.
Today, Defending Rights and Dissent joined a coalition of over 100 organizations in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging it to cease any targeting of activists, journalists, and lawyers based on their First Amendment-protected speech and associational activities.
The People’s Lobby, Sierra Club and environmental justice leaders from around the city spoke out at a press conference yesterday against HR1633. The bill is designed to squash anti-pipeline protests with a mix of draconian fines and jail time for peaceful civil disobedience.