Today In History: The Haitian Independence

While the Haitian Revolution initially began as a white planter revolt and a free colored insurgency, largely in response to the French Revolution of 1789, an additional group was soon to be added. Indeed, in 1791, the slaves of Saint-Domingue began their own uprising. Through they originally fought to free themselves form their masters and still held emotional ties to France, with the Leclerc expedition of 1802, the capture of the black leader Toussaint-Louverture and his subsequent death in prison, the slave revolt soon became a complete Revolution to overthrow the colonial order. Although the proclamation of Haitian independence is still regarded as trivial by many today, in 1804, the people of Haiti accomplished what was unconceivable in an 18th and 19th century landscape. On this date, 210 years ago, Haiti became the first country in the modern world to be born out of a successful slave rebellion, the first modern “black” republic, the second independent state of the Americas (after the United States) and the first in the Caribbean and Latin American region. To that list must be added that Haiti was the first country to founded on of three core principals: it was anti-colonial, anti-slavery and egalitarian. Indeed, independent Haiti guaranteed citizenship to all its inhabitants, regardless of color, class or property. Furthermore, Haiti was among the first states to equip itself with a constitution (constitutionalism as a written process being a new development at the time).

* That these facts about the Revolution remain largely unknown to a larger public speaks very well of the silencing of the Haitian Revolution in academia and popular culture.

California already has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, but the state appears to be moving forward with even more second amendment restructuring.

Downtrend.com lists the following as some of the bills that “will further infringe” upon California gun owners rights:Described as unconstitutional bills by critics, these are already headed for appropriation as they are movingquickly to get to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

-SB 47 (Yee) Bans all guns with a “bullet button.”

-SB 374 (Steinberg) Bans all semi-automatic center-fire long guns with detachablemagazines.

-SB 396 (Hancock) Makes grandfatheredmagazines over 10 rds. illegal to possess.

-SB 567 (Jackson) Redefines shotguns as a destructive devices.

-SB 683 (Block) Requires a Firearms Safety Certificate for all potential gun purchases.

-SB 755 (Wolk) Expands the type of crimes that can result in loss of firearms ownership rights.

Some details below:

SB 374

Summary: Ban and forced registration of all semi-automatic rifles (excluding rimfire)

  • Requires gun owners to register every semi-automatic rifle, including rimfire.
  • Requires gun owners of existing semi-auto rifles to submit fingerprints and forms to DOJ, which will be tracked in a government database.
  • Bans sales and transfers of virtually all semi-automatic rifles after Jan 1, 2014.
  • “Bullet button” and similarly “mag-locked” off-list (OLL) rifles would be considered banned “assault weapons”.

SB 567

Summary: Redefinition of “Shotguns”

  • Removes from the Penal Code definition of shotgun the requirement that it be fired from the shoulder.
  • Changes the definition to includes rifled bores.
  • Makes any weapon for which shotshell-type ammunition exists a “shotgun”.
Watch on breenewsome.tumblr.com

This is a PERFECT example of what Michelle Alexander describes in her book “The New Jim Crow”. She says that “Virtually all constitutionally protected civil liberties have been undermined by the drug war.” (p. 62)

Prior to the bogus & racist War on Drugs:
“…it was generally understood that the police could not stop and search someone without a warrant unless there was probable cause to believe that the individual was engaged in criminal activity. That was a basic Fourth Amendment principle.” (p. 63)

Now, however:
“So-called consent searches have made it possible for the police to stop and search just about anybody walking down the street for drugs. All a police officer has to do in order to conduct a baseless drug investigation is ask to speak with someone and then get their “consent” to be searched. So long as orders are phrased as a question, compliance is interpreted as consent. ‘May I speak to you?’ thunders an officer. ‘Will you put your arms up and stand against the wall for a search?’ Because almost no one refuses, drug sweeps on the sidewalk (and on buses and trains) are easy. People are easily intimidated when the police confront them, hands on their revolvers, and most have no idea the question can be answered, “No.” But what about all the people driving down the street? How do police extract consent from them? The answer: pretext stops. …police officers use minor traffic violations as an excuse— a pretext— to search for drugs, even though there is not a shred of evidence suggesting the motorist is violating drug laws. (pp. 66, 67)

"Another legal option for officers frustrated by a motorist’s refusal to grant ‘consent’ is to bring a drug-sniffing dog to the scene." (p. 69)

NOW WATCH THE VIDEO AND OBSERVE HOW POLICE HAVE BEEN GIVEN WIDE LATITUDE TO PROFILE AND HARASS PEOPLE OF COLOR.

#ferguson #mike brown #policebrutality #handsup #dontshoot #blacklivesmatter

They're back ...

So there’s been a group of people running around the United States for 30 years or so who call themselves Constitutionalists, among other things. They have — shall we say —quirky ideas about the rule of the law, the nature of the US constitution and of citizens’ rights within it.

My personal favorite of their claims is that — in their claiming, not mine — that I (meaning Politicalprof and people like me) are “sovereign citizens.” What this means in practice is that since people like me — white, male and property owning — were legally entitled to be citizens of the US before the US Constitution was created, we are “sovereign” — e.g., superior — to the Constitution. This means that I — meaning Politicalprof and people like me — have the personal right to reject or nullify laws that seem to us to intrude on our freedom since, obviously, we would never have consented to such laws in 1787. I am sovereign over the federal government, which cannot take away my rights as I define them.

Now, many of my sharp and sophisticated readers will be have their brows in a knot, going, “but, Politicalprof, what if you’re NOT a white male property owner? What if you’re a woman? Or a minority? Or an immigrant?” No worries: you are what is known as a “14th Amendment citizen.” That is, you are a citizen, but not a sovereign citizen. (Again, this is their argument, not mine.) Rather, you were granted citizenship by the 14th Amendment.

The distinction here is important: I was a citizen (allegedly) who could have made the Constitution, so my rights and liberties exist independent of the Constitution. Everyone else is a citizen as a result of the Constitution, and is bound therefore by its rules and limitations. In addition, we can take your citizenship and rights away through Constitutional changes, but we can never take mine away — as I define them — because people like me defined them in 1787.

Simple, huh? In any case, such persons are on the loose again. The anti-government fervor of the last years, mixed with the rise of a legalistic strain of libertarianism, has combined to make nonsense sound like Constitutional reasoning.

To wit, the post below. A group calling itself the “Republic for the united States of America” (the lowercase “u” matters) has decided that the United States you and I think of is not the real united States. More, they’ve decided they’ve recreated the real the united States. I am posting their words in full, cause hey: you need the full crazy.

Have fun!

—————-

The year 1776 marked America’s victory in the war for independence.   The lawful right to re-inhabit is inherent in The Declaration of Independence circa 1776.  The Declaration, one of our founding documents, declares our right to change, alter or abolish any system of government that we believe is contrary to the safety and security of the American people.  

In concern for all of humanity, “We the People” re-inhabited our lawful de jure (meaning “by right of legal establishment”) government on March 30, 2010, by serving notice on the de facto corporation, known as the “UNITED STATES”.   (USC 28 Section 3002, No. 15(a) “United States” means a Federal Corporation.)   The United States was incorporated February 21, 1871 (16 Stat. 419, Chap. 62, 41st Congress, 3rd Session), the purpose being “an Act to provide a Government for the District of Columbia, reorganized June 8th, 1878, (20 Stat. 102, Chapter 180, 45th Congress, 2nd Session) as “an Act providing a permanent form of government for the District of Columbia” aka US Inc.  Uniform Commercial Code, UCC9-307 (h) states “Location of United States.  The United States is located in the District of Columbia.  A lawful grand jury in each of the fifty republics created a new Declaration of Independence that was lawfully served on the corporate UNITED STATES informing them that the original de jure government was restored.   We have claimed our right to exist as a free and independent people on our land, thus exercising our God-given unalienable rights as defined in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

On July 21, 2010 “We the People” of the de jure government proclaimed worldwide and made our “Declaration of Sovereignty for the Republic for the united States of America” to The Hague (a.k.a. the International Court of Justice), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the United Nations (UN).  On September 23, 2010, the first session of congress was convened by the united free Republics of the re-inhabited united States of America.  The seating of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Republic government were successfully established.  This was completed by more   than the required two-thirds majority vote of “We the People” on the land of the independent Republics.  Delegates from more than 42 free Republics (States) attended, and officers for all three branches of our government have been officially sworn into office, lawfully electing interim President James Timothy Turner and interim Vice President Charles Eugene Wright, along with other established cabinet members with a presiding majority vote of 94% approval.  Thus, the Republic government is officially re-inhabited and staffed for the first time since 1868 by the will of “We the People”.

The de facto UNITED STATES CORPORATION was unlawfully established by the forty-first congress in 1871 by deceptive means and without proper consent from “We the People”.  The American people were placed under involuntary servitude by a “Legal” system of laws that have continually violated the “Constitution for the united States of America”, “Bill of Rights” and the “Declaration of Independence”.  The corporate constitution was changed from the original form, wherein Amendments were unlawfully added and removed without the people’s consent.  Since 1871, the abuses of this corporation upon both the international community as well as the American people are inestimable and unconscionable.  De facto Congress has repeatedly violated their Oaths of Office, fiduciary responsibilities, and in many cases, committed treasonous acts against “We the People” of the united States of America and the world.

We humbly come forward apologizing for the numerous atrocities we have unknowingly allowed the U.S. CORPORATION to carry out upon the international community.   It is our mission to establish the American image of truth, honesty, integrity and honor around the world.  Our plan is to rebuild our economy and support other economies around the world, fulfilling humanitarian needs.  We will allow our military to withdraw from unnecessary conflicts around the world and promote world peace and prosperity.  We intend to follow God the Creator’s command to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick, irrespective of creed, religion or race.   There is no law against these things.

We are calling on the support of all Nations around the world to help us end the tyranny that has been perpetrated by the unlawful actions of the UNITED STATES corporate government.  We shall achieve this goal PEACEFULLY AND LAWFULLY, with boldness, integrity and truth, so help us God.

Feds: Obama broke "clear and unambiguous law" in Bergdahl prisoner swap

image

So now what happens?  According to the Government Accountability Office, President Obama broke a “clear an unambiguous law” when he authorized the prisoner swap of 5 Taliban generals for army deserter Bowe Bergdahl. 

from National Review:

“[The Department of Defense] violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” the GAO report said. “In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

The GAO rejected the idea that the action was legal and sidestepped the Obama team’s suggestion that the law is unconstitutional.

“It is not our role or our practice to determine the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes,” the report says. “In our view, where legislation has been passed by Congress and signed by the President, thereby satisfying the bicameralism and presentment requirements in the Constitution, that legislation is entitled to a heavy presumption in favor of constitutionality.”

read the rest

Obama broke not just one but two laws.  He committed a crime.  It’s time for some consequences. 

Your move, Congress.

America:Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests

The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy. But it is also unfortunately true that governments and police can violate this right – through the use of mass arrests, illegal use of force, criminalization of protest, and other means intended to thwart free public expression.

Standing up for your right to protest can be challenging, especially when demonstrations are met with violence. But knowing your rights is the most powerful weapon you have against police abuse. Read on to learn what you need to know before heading out to exercise your constitutionally protected right to protest.

Can my free speech be restricted because of what I say — even if it is controversial?

No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed to place certain narrowly drawn “time, place and manner” restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights — for example, permit requirements for large groups using public parks or limits on the loudness of sound amplifiers. Any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its point of view.

Where can I engage in free speech activity?

Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. In addition, you may have a right to speak in other public locations that the government has opened up for unrestricted public speech, such as plazas in front of government buildings.

How about on private property?

The general rule is that the owners of private property can set rules for speech on that property. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply). But your speech may not be restricted if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.

What about permits?

Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?

Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. For example:

  • A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure;
  • A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or
  • A rally at certain designated parks or plazas.

Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent protests in response to recent news events. Also, many permit ordinances give too much discretion to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication to the intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views.

If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place?

If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by.

May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks without a permit?

Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions, and solicitations for donations without a permit. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up tables or other physical structures.

Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks?

Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked.

Encounters with the police

What do I do if I get stopped by the police?

Stay calm, be polite, and don’t run. Don’t argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or you believe that the police are violating your rights. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself, but you do not have to provide an ID or other paperwork. Make sure to keep your hands where police can see them. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions. Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.

And if I’m under arrest?

Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair. If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer. You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.

Can I be searched?

You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. Police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon, and may search you after an arrest. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do explicitly consent, it can affect you later in court.

What do I do if my rights have been violated?

Remember: the street is not the place to challenge police misconduct. Don’t physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint. As soon as you can, write down everything you remember, including officers’ badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first). Once you have this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board; in many cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish. You can also seek the assistance of an attorney or the ACLU.

Read more about what to do if you’re stopped by the police, with special information for non-citizens.

Photographing protests

Do I have the right to photograph or videotape during protests?

Yes. When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and the police. When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs or video. Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances. However, they may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.

See video

Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from youtube.com.

Read more on the rights of photographers.

Protest fees

Can government impose a financial charge to exercise free speech rights?

Some local governments have required a fee as a condition on larger groups exercising their free speech rights, such as application fees, security deposits for clean-up, or charges to cover overtime police costs. Charges that cover actual administrative costs have been permitted by some courts. However, government may not charge higher fees because an event is controversial (or a hostile crowd is expected to react to the speech).

What if we can’t afford the fees?

Group fee applications should include a waiver for groups that cannot afford the charge, so that even grassroots organizations can exercise their free speech rights. Therefore, a group without significant financial resources should not be prevented from engaging in a march simply because it cannot afford the charges the City would like to impose.

Other protest activities

Do counter-demonstrators have free speech rights?

Yes. Although counter-demonstrators should not be allowed to physically disrupt the event they are protesting, they do have the right to be present and to voice their displeasure. Police are permitted to keep two antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within the general vicinity of one another.

Does it matter if other speech activities have taken place at the same location?

Yes. The government cannot discriminate against activities because of the controversial content of the message. Thus, if you can show that similar events to yours have been permitted in the past (such as a Veterans or Memorial Day parade), then that is an indication that the government is involved in discriminatory enforcement if they are not granting you a permit.

What other types of free speech activity are constitutionally protected?

The First Amendment covers all forms of communication including music, theater, film and dance. The Constitution also protects actions that symbolically express a viewpoint. Examples of these symbolic forms of speech include wearing costumes, engaging in sit-ins, or holding a candlelight vigil. However, civil disobedience is generally outside the realm of constitutional protections and may lead to arrest and conviction. Therefore, while sitting in a road may be expressing a political opinion, the act of blocking traffic may lead to criminal punishment.

Lol @ that Scottish comment on the BBC regarding free Scottish tuition fees as compared to English students’ predicament and why that’s the reason they should go it alone. The Scottish welfare system, including free university education, won’t be half as comprehensive or effective without English taxpayer and student money subsidising the Scottish financial deficit or English constitutionally-necessary tolerance of our bizarre exclusion from that same system. 
I detest the whole historically and logically indefensible ‘Poor, Brave wee Scawtland and the Big Bad Englesh’ rhetoric that infests Scottish politics and is a major driving force behind the ‘Yes’ campaign. If it carries on after a hypothetical Scottish ‘No’ vote, I’d happily endorse any campaign pushing for Scottish expulsion from the union.

The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy. But it is also unfortunately true that governments and police can violate this right – through the use of mass arrests, illegal use of force, criminalization of protest, and other means intended to thwart free public expression.

Standing up for your right to protest can be challenging, especially when demonstrations are met with violence. But knowing your rights is the most powerful weapon you have against police abuse. Read on to learn what you need to know before heading out to exercise your constitutionally protected right to protest.

Can my free speech be restricted because of what I say — even if it is controversial?

No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed to place certain narrowly drawn “time, place and manner” restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights — for example, permit requirements for large groups using public parks or limits on the loudness of sound amplifiers. Any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its point of view.

Where can I engage in free speech activity?

Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. In addition, you may have a right to speak in other public locations that the government has opened up for unrestricted public speech, such as plazas in front of government buildings.

How about on private property?

The general rule is that the owners of private property can set rules for speech on that property. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply). But your speech may not be restricted if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.

What about permits?

Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?

Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. For example:

  • A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure;
  • A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or
  • A rally at certain designated parks or plazas.

Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent protests in response to recent news events. Also, many permit ordinances give too much discretion to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication to the intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views.

If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place?

If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by.

May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks without a permit?

Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions, and solicitations for donations without a permit. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up tables or other physical structures.

Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks?

Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked.

Encounters with the police

What do I do if I get stopped by the police?

Stay calm, be polite, and don’t run. Don’t argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or you believe that the police are violating your rights. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself, but you do not have to provide an ID or other paperwork. Make sure to keep your hands where police can see them. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions. Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.

And if I’m under arrest?

Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair. If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer. You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.

Can I be searched?

You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. Police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon, and may search you after an arrest. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do explicitly consent, it can affect you later in court.

What do I do if my rights have been violated?

Remember: the street is not the place to challenge police misconduct. Don’t physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint. As soon as you can, write down everything you remember, including officers’ badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first). Once you have this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board; in many cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish. You can also seek the assistance of an attorney or the ACLU.

Read more about what to do if you’re stopped by the police, with special information for non-citizens.

Photographing protests

Do I have the right to photograph or videotape during protests?

Yes. When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and the police. When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs or video. Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances. However, they may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.video

Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from youtube.com.

Read more on the rights of photographers.

Protest fees

Can government impose a financial charge to exercise free speech rights?

Some local governments have required a fee as a condition on larger groups exercising their free speech rights, such as application fees, security deposits for clean-up, or charges to cover overtime police costs. Charges that cover actual administrative costs have been permitted by some courts. However, government may not charge higher fees because an event is controversial (or a hostile crowd is expected to react to the speech).

What if we can’t afford the fees?

Group fee applications should include a waiver for groups that cannot afford the charge, so that even grassroots organizations can exercise their free speech rights. Therefore, a group without significant financial resources should not be prevented from engaging in a march simply because it cannot afford the charges the City would like to impose.

Other protest activities

Do counter-demonstrators have free speech rights?

Yes. Although counter-demonstrators should not be allowed to physically disrupt the event they are protesting, they do have the right to be present and to voice their displeasure. Police are permitted to keep two antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within the general vicinity of one another.

Does it matter if other speech activities have taken place at the same location?

Yes. The government cannot discriminate against activities because of the controversial content of the message. Thus, if you can show that similar events to yours have been permitted in the past (such as a Veterans or Memorial Day parade), then that is an indication that the government is involved in discriminatory enforcement if they are not granting you a permit.

What other types of free speech activity are constitutionally protected?

The First Amendment covers all forms of communication including music, theater, film and dance. The Constitution also protects actions that symbolically express a viewpoint. Examples of these symbolic forms of speech include wearing costumes, engaging in sit-ins, or holding a candlelight vigil. However, civil disobedience is generally outside the realm of constitutional protections and may lead to arrest and conviction. Therefore, while sitting in a road may be expressing a political opinion, the act of blocking traffic may lead to criminal punishment.

For anyone planning on going to protests.

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