The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy. But it is also unfortunately true that governments and police can violate this right – through the use of mass arrests, illegal use of force, criminalization of protest, and other means intended to thwart free public expression.
 
Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional "public forums" such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. In addition, you may have a right to speak in other public locations that the government has opened up for unrestricted public speech, such as plazas in front of government buildings. certain types of events require permits. For example, a march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure, a large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices or at certain designated parks or plazas. Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent protests in response to recent news events.
 
If you believe your right to protest or demonstrate has been violated, let us know through the "Request Help" online form.

 

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