The news is out: [Late Friday and early Saturday morning protests continued in Portland, with police declaring an unlawful assembly and arresting 27 people.
A few hundred demonstrators had met at Kenton Park Friday before making their way to the Portland Police Association building, where officers warned protesters to stay off the streets and private property. Those who refused could be subject to citation, arrest, the use of tear gas, crowd-control agents or impact munitions, police said.
Around midnight, police ran down the street, pushing protesters out of the area, knocking people down and arresting those who they say were not following orders — as some people were being detained, they were pinned to the ground and blood could be seen marking the pavement. Law enforcement officers used smoke devices and shot impact munitions and stun grenades while trying to get the crowd to disperse, The Oregonian reported.]
The right to protest is fundamental to our democracy and sacrosanct. The founding fathers thought that the right was so important that they wrote it into the first 45 words of the Bill of Rights and labeled it the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
As the Supreme Court observed in 1958, “It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech.”
Trump’s aim to thwart, limit, or outright eviscerate the fundamental right to protest and have grievances heard is also racist because it applies to negroes only.
As Christopher Dolan and Lourdes DeArmas wrote: [“The clear and undeniable fact remains that law enforcement officers who harass peaceably assembled citizens are violating the First Amendment, no matter the tactic used. It is unlawful and those rights must be protected.
Even though the incident on Monday in Washington, D.C. occurred before the curfew set by the mayor, curfews in and of themselves violate civil liberties. Public officials at every level of government are making arbitrary decisions about when, where, and what time citizens are allowed to have their voices heard. Just like it is wrong to forcefully disperse protesters before curfew, it is just as wrong to disperse them after curfew.]