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Jessica Cook

English 102

Dr. Cuddy

March 15, 2017

Protesting human rights

Throughout the history of this country, protesting has been a way, to let the voices of

everyday people be heard on a larger scale. Although, many forget that when protesting for

rights of others, you need to remember the rights of the protesters as well. A good public

service announcement can talk about the importance of knowing your rights as an American

citizen while going out to protest for the rights of others. To grab the attention of the

demographic of people from the ages of 18-30, we can inform them on how to recognize when

their rights are being violated during a protest. We will also inform them of the issue that

allows this topic to take center stage: with the human rights of the protestors being violated,

they are in turn violating our first amendment right as American citizens. Protesting may not be

the way everyone wants to advocate for human rights, but it is a way to allow the publics voice

to be heard on a larger scale, our rights as protesters should be protected.

When protesting, the protester needs to be aware of their own rights. Your freedom of

speech whether its controversial or not, cannot be restricted(Rights). Although law

enforcement can put in nondiscriminatory, or narrowly drawn time, place, and manner

restrictions, on the first amendment, it must allow all freedom of speech regardless of its point

of view(Rights). Protesters can engage in freedom of speech on public forums, such as streets,
sidewalks, public plazas(Rights). But on private property the owner can set rules restricting your

freedom of speech. Marches do not require a permit unless they come off the sidewalk, and

protesters have the right to picket sidewalks(Rights). Protesters can also be charged by their

local government, for application fees, security deposits, etc., but can receive a waiver if its a

grassroots movement(Rights). If protesters are being prevented from acting in these instances

their first amendment rights are being violated.

The first amendment states; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment

of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the

right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of

grievances(Staff, Lll). This means that it is our right to protest for the rights of others. Although

we have this right, as a citizen, you need to make sure it is not infringed upon while protesting.

Over the years, protesting has been looked at as a disturbance of the peace, law enforcement

has taken measures to ensure that peace is restored often at the expense of the protesters

rights being violated. This was shown during the civil rights movement, during the March on

Selma, when the protesters were brutally beaten by law enforcement. Also, more recently,

protesters of the Trump Administration, have been attempted to be silenced by having their

signs taken away, or unlawfully arrested(Mediate). Although it can cause a disturbance, the

object of protesting and many times bringing about positive change for those who have less of a

voice in society this must be maintained so that there is no majority rule.

In conclusion, the rights of protesters should be protected. This is important because as

American citizens we live in an establishment where, the government is supposed to be the by

people, for the people. So, if the people feel as if their voices are not being heard, they have the

right to come together and voice their opinion. In the history of this country although our

constitution was made on this rhetoric, there have been many instances where it has not been
favored upon to protest, but we must remember that the only way to create change id for our

voices to be heard, and as such we deserve to be protected.


Bibliography

Staff, LII. "First Amendment." LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., 05 Feb. 2010. Web.

10 Apr. 2017. <https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment>.

Ingraham, Christopher. "Republican lawmakers introduce bills to curb protesting in at

least 18 states." The Washington Post. WP Company, 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/24/republican-lawmakers-

introduce-bills-to-curb-protesting-in-at-least-17-states/?utm_term=.a07344852be7>.

Mediaite: NY court to trump team: Do not interfere with protesters' rights (2015). .

Chatham: Newstex. Retrieved from http://137.198.76.25/docview/1723236460?accountid=11272

"What To Do If Your Rights Are Violated at a Demonstration or Protest." American

Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <https://www.aclu.org/know-your-

rights/what-do-if-your-rights-are-violated-demonstration-or-protest>.

"Rights." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

<http://www.pbs.org/tpt/constitution-usa-peter-sagal/rights/#.WOuVlY-cFhg>.