by Claire Bernish, Activist Post:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
President Donald Trump’s first week in office has seen a tumultuous mix of sweeping executive actions peppered with a few pleasant surprises; but if one thing proves true — as with the first term of any new president — there will be cause for someone to protest something.
Indeed, before Trump even took the oath of office, protesters descended on Washington, D.C. — marching en masse down the middle of typically congested roadways, chanting, screaming, and generally causing the sort of disruptions demonstrators seek in order to draw attention to a cause.
But that most basic right — to air one’s grievances to elected leaders in a public forum, often through disruption — might soon be a risky endeavor in at least ten states, as protest is gradually being criminalized in rather astonishing ways.
Lawmakers from North Dakota and Minnesota, to Virginia and the state of Washington, have proposed or passed legislation levying hefty penalties against anyone who dares to exercise the basic right to protest against — ironically enough — legislation and policy found to be untenable.
At the rate such laws have rapidly come to fruition, even if legislators in your state have yet to propose obstacles to protesting, the following list should serve as a guide for potential future strictures regarding your right to speak out.
1. NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota lawmakers have proposed arguably the most crushing measures against protesters — seemingly specifically targeting water protectors opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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