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Your Rights While Protesting: What You Need to Know

George Floyd’s tragic death was a turning point for our nation that shed light on the problems we have been facing for decades. Injustice and oppression have gone on for far too long, and if you’ve kept up with recent news, you’re likely aware that many Americans have had enough and have begun to fight back.

With so many brave individuals fighting for much-needed justice and change in our nation, we want to explain how to protect your rights while protesting, to help ensure that your voices are heard.

Before Your Next Protest

If you’re out there fighting for change, there are some things you should know:

  • Your rights are best-protected while you are in “traditional public forums,” including places like streets, sidewalks, and parks.
  • You have the right to voice your opinion on public property, such as in front of government buildings or shopping centers, as long as you do not block access or interfere with business operations.
  • The owner of the property you are on has a say in the rules for speech on their property.
  • Your freedom of speech is much less likely to be restricted on your own property or if the property owner permitted you.
  • Counterprotesters are legally allowed to voice their opinions as well.
  • It is the job of the police to treat protesters and counterprotesters equally. And to ensure that the two parties are separated, but still within sight and sound of each other.
  • When you are in any public space legally, you have the right to take pictures and videos or anything in plain view. This includes federal buildings and officers.
  • If on private property, be sure to speak with the property owner about your rights to take pictures and videos.

What About Permits?

  • If you’re marching in the streets or on the sidewalk, you don’t need a permit, as long as you don’t interfere with foot or vehicle traffic. However, if you don’t have a permit, you can be asked to move by the police if they feel you’re causing hazards.
  • If the protest you’re in is large, it could require a permit.
    • If you’re marching in a parade that requires streets to be closed, you will have to obtain a permit.
    • If you’re bringing large numbers to parks or shopping centers, you will have to obtain a permit.
    • Your permit cannot be denied because the event you’re holding is controversial.
    • If your permit requires fees, and you cannot pay them, a waiver should be given.

Our team at Baxter Harder stands in solidarity with those fighting for justice across our nation. If you have any questions, we’re here to help. Call us today (541) 238-9210.

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