For Immediate Release
July 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) were joined today by fifty civil society groups condemning the deployment of federal agents to Portland against the wishes of local elected officials. The original statement was published Friday, July 17.
“The use of unidentified militarized federal forces against the wishes of local officials, the exercise of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators and the seemingly arbitrary detention of some of them without a clear reason for arrest are designed to intimidate protesters into surrendering their First Amendment rights,” the groups said. “We condemn these practices. We call for all unwanted federal forces to be removed from Portland and urge Congress to investigate the pattern and practice of abuses against protesters.”
The full statement is available below.
“Protesters who have a First Amendment right to demonstrate peacefully in Portland have been illegally detained and met with unnecessary force by federal police officers who are untrained and inexperienced in crowd control. The federal government must honor demands by state and local officials that they be withdrawn,” said Christopher Finan, executive director, National Coalition Against Censorship.
“This expansion of violent federal forces into our cities to police protests is a frightening escalation of Trump’s war on dissent. We encourage local officials to more urgently resist this encroachment, but call on Congress to take immediate action to rein in DHS and investigate the pattern and practice of abuses against protesters.” said Sue Udry, executive director, Defending Rights & Dissent.PortlandStatement
The National Coalition Against Censorship is a coalition of 57 national non-profit organizations committed to protecting and defending freedom of expression. NCAC has promoted the freedom to think, create and explore and opposed censorship in all its forms for 45 years. For more information, visit ncac.org.
Defending Rights & Dissent is a national civil liberties group whose mission is to strengthen our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression. For six decades, we’ve been defending the right to protest and empowering activists to stand up for their rights. For more information, visit rightsanddissent.org.