Imagine an America in which the government can deny protest in any public space it deems fit. Where wearing a dissenting shirt
around an elected official could be construed as a felony. Where First-Amendment protections become privileges subjectively doled out by the state. Sadly, that America is pretty much here.
Last year, Congress
passed HR 347, a bill that limits Americans' ability to protest in public and on
Mainstream media didn't raise peep, but now there's finally some anger building. The bill, passed almost unanimously, makes it a federal offense punishable
by up to ten years in prison to "knowingly" protest in the vicinity of the Secret Service--
that is anywhere
the Secret Service "is or will be temporarily visiting."It also makes many
public events impervious to lawful protest
. Any "National Security Special
Event" (NSSE) requires Secret Service protection. NSSE-designated events have proliferated since 9/11 to include Super Bowls, concerts, campaign events,
and now any
that Very Important People want protest-free.
Most dangerously, it criminalizes protest
. Under the bill, "disorderly or disruptive conduct" or activities that "impede or
disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions" could warrant felony charges. What
constitutes such "disruptive conduct" rests in the eye of the beholder--or the
eye of Eric Holder. To put it plainly: the government can decide where and when free speech is allowed and severely prosecute any "disruptive" activity, while we're confined to "free speech zones."
We can help fix it, however! Join our petition below to protect our speech rights!
PETITION TO CONGRESS
We treasure our first amendment rights of free speech and public assembly! HR 347 limits valid arenas of peaceful public protest, and broadens the
government's ability to curtail civil liberties. We demand that Congress amend the bill to provide clearer language as
to what constitutes "disruptions"; to allow for reasonable, peaceful protest at NSSEs and
around Secret Service; and to ensure that no
peaceful protest can ever be deemed a felony.