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Right to Protest

The right to protest is protected and guaranteed under the First Amendment, freedom of speech and expression. But as we all know, publicized government disapproval threatens an Administration's legitimacy. That is why the government is fighting back by taking extreme measures to silence dissent. Law enforcement has started by disrupting protests before they happen, such as a recent incident in Washington D.C. and St. Louis, where police raided the homes of activists and made widespread arrests only hours prior to a protest they were scheduled to attend. As another means to deter protesters, the police have also been using increasing force where recent protesters in Miami and Oakland were met with unprecedented brutality.



Government Plotted to Disrupt Peaceful Protests
The United States and District of Columbia governments deliberately plotted to disrupt and stifle peaceful protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, according to a lawsuit filed by civil rights and protest groups here today.

Right to Protest at Risk
Greenpeace is being taken to court by the U.S. government because of protest actions taken against the illegal importation of mahogany. Activists boarded a ship that was allegedly carrying the mahogany, with a sign reading: "President Bush, Stop Illegal Logging." Though it is common for the activists themselves to be taken in, this is the first time in history that the government is taking action against the entire organization.

Preventing Protests From Happening
Last May, several hundred gathered in St. Louis to protest against Monsanto and the World Agricultural Forum, which was meeting there. Prior to the protests, police raided activists’ homes and made widespread arrests. Many are calling this preemptive action to stop protests before they even happen a "blatant interference to the right of dissent."

Silencing Dissent With Excessive Force
Recent protests in both Miami and Oakland have been met with excessive force, and police brutality. This leads many feeling like the government is essentially attempting to silence dissent with force. As the ACLU puts it "Law enforcement officers are telling people, if you have dissenting views you should think twice about expressing them."



 
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