The right to protest has become a big issue lately, with Republicans and President Donald Trump suggesting that anyone who disagrees with them or their policies is a dangerous mob that threatens public safety. And yet this is the same Donald Trump who has encouraged his supporters to inflict violence on anti-Trump protesters who dare show up at one of his Nuremberg-style rallies.
And now the Trump administration is advocating a new policy for protests in the nation’s capitol which would restrict nearly 80 percent of the area outside the White House by permanently closing the sidewalk outside what has long been known as “the people’s house.”
ShareBlue Media and the ACLU report:
“The Trump administration proposes to dramatically limit the right to demonstrate near the White House and on the National Mall, including in ways that would violate court orders that have stood for decades.”
The new plan, which Trump had the National Park Service draw up, would also severely restrict any kind of spontaneous demonstration and also ban the use of a small stage or sound system unless a permit is obtained at least 48 hours in advance.
Additionally, the Park Service may also start charging protesters for the right to express themselves, a right which is specifically mentioned in the First Amendment of the Constitution by making any group that wants to protest pay for trash removal or turf damage repairs. As the ACLU points out:
“But of course, the park service does not plan to charge the 45 million non-demonstrators who visit the National Mall every year for the fencing and sanitation their presence requires or for the harm to the turf that they cause. While the park service may be strapped for funds, it cannot balance its budget on the backs of people seeking to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The imposition of such fees for usage could effectively make any large protest — such as the one held on the National Mall as part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s historic March on Washington — too expensive for any group.
Members of the public have until October 15 to comment on the changes being put forth by the Trump administration, which is headed by a man who once had this to say at one of his rallies:
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
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