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The Trump administration wants to stifle protests in Washington, D.C.

News & Commentary  |  By Aura Kanegis, Oct 12, 2018

Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. 

Photo: AFSC / Nathaniel Doubleday

Here's how you can speak up to defend our right to protest. 

The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy.  From iconic movement marches such as the March on Washington and Vietnam War protests, to more recent actions such as resisting the Muslim ban, the Women's March, and the Poor People's Campaign, demonstrations in Washington have formed an essential exercise of free speech, a means for individuals to raise a strong, collective voice before policymakers who hold their lives and well-being in the balance.

But now President Trump – a frequent critic of protesters – is taking steps to severely limit our right to protest in the nation's capital.

According to the ACLU, the administration's proposed changes would "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 proposal would close 80 percent of the White House sidewalk, put new limits on spontaneous demonstrations, and open the door to charging fees for protesting."  

We must act now to stop Trump from restricting our right to protest. The public has until Monday, Oct. 15 to submit public comments and speak out against this proposal. 

Here's how you can take action:

  1. Click here to visit the Federal Register to add your comment. The proposal is titled "Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region, Special Events and Demonstrations." Under federal law, the government is required to consult the public before issuing a final rule. A flood of comments can slow down the process, shape the administration’s decisions, and show how many people care. 
  2. Use your own words and write from your own values and experiences. Get tips from Defending Rights and Dissent on what makes a strong public comment.  

Protesting is one of our most important forms of nonviolent action, and we must defend against any effort to curtail that right. 

I hope you join me and AFSC in speaking out today against Trump's harmful proposal and defending our right to demonstrate. 

Take action today!

 

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About the Author

Robin Aura Kanegis serves as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the American Friends Service Committee. Prior to joining AFSC, she served as Director of Campaigns and Iraq Peace Campaign Director for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Aura previously worked for over a decade on issues impacting Native American communities, serving the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) first as Deputy Director for Governmental Affairs and subsequently as Director of Operations and Programs.