Headed to a Protest? Make Sure You Know Your Rights

(TotalConservative.com) – Organizers, individuals, and members of the media are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their rights in advance of large protests or other political demonstrations.

Organizers should keep their events in public venues or what’s considered “traditional public forums.” Streets, sidewalks, parks, or public buildings are good examples of a safe venue. It’s important that you don’t block entryways or otherwise interfere with the work intended to occur at the location.

Private property owners can invite or exclude protests. The government has no authority to interfere with lawful speech or protest activities occurring on private property. That said, property owners can have protesters removed by police should they so choose.

Counter protesting is also a possibility to consider. Police will generally keep antagonistic groups apart, separated by a street or physical barriers. Taking photographs and/or video recordings is completely legitimate at any protest in public. That said, you may want to keep expensive equipment at home or away from any rowdy individuals.

Permits aren’t generally required unless the event is going to be large and cause a disruption to the area. Permits are required for events that plan to shut down traffic on roadways or if electronic sound amplification is going to be used. Rallies in public parks and plazas may also require a permit if they’re going to occupy the space for an extended period of time. Permits cannot be denied on the basis of controversial opinions or causes.

If you think your rights have been violated, make sure you collect all pertinent information. If an officer was involved, get his badge number, name, and department he’s affiliated with. Photograph injuries. A written complaint can be made with the internal affairs department for the relevant police force.

If police attempt to disperse a protest they must give ample time for their orders to be carried out by the crowd. They can also only break up protests if there’s clear and present danger to public safety.

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