Free expression of one’s beliefs is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.
Peaceful Protesting — an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid — is a form of assembly and thus protected by the Constitution. But while there is a right to peaceful protest in the U.S., “peaceful” is the key word.
To help you stay safe during COVID-19, we have compiled a list of Tips for Protesting:
If you’re sick, stay home! If you’re coughing, feverish, or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, do not join the protests. Not only could extreme activity worsen your symptoms, but you can also get others sick.
Keep a distance.. Obviously you are going to be exposed to a lot of people. If you can stick with one group and try to increase your social distancing from others, you can limit your exposure.
Bring a mask! The best offense is a good defense and you can create that by being prepared. Masks can stop the spread of COVID-19 and also protect from tear gas. Make sure to bring extras.
Minimize shouts and chants. Shouting, singing, and chanting can spread viral particles much farther than six feet. The New York City Department of Health has recommended using signs and noisemakers instead.
Bring a backpack or bag. Especially in the heat we have in Arizona, you will want to bring water in your pack! Essential supplies and hand sanitizer can also be stored for use throughout the day.
Wear goggles and move away quickly from rubber bullets. One of the tactics being used to control protestors is rubber bullets. These not only hurt but can be very dangerous if they hit your eyes. Experts recommend “construction-grade plastic polycarbonate shatter-proof goggles” as the best protective eye wear.
WATER! Especially in the state of Arizona this is the most important tip. Dehydration can not only stop your protesting but land you in the hospital. There may not be water available on your protest route, so bring plenty with you.
Has Your Right to Peaceful Protest been Violated? Talk to a Lawyer.
If you believe your right to peaceful protest has been violated, you have been arrested for protesting, or you have additional questions, you may want to speak with a local attorney. Van Norman Law stands with your rights for free expression and will listen to your experience while offering the defense you need. Contact us right away for a free consultation.