by WorldTribune Staff, March 12, 2017
In what may be the ACLU’s version of March Madness, the group is coaching anti-Trump protesters on their rights to vocally oppose the president’s policies – and to remain silent when they get arrested.
“We will bring all the lawsuits necessary to defend these rights,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said. “We’ll do the work in the courts. You do the work in the streets. People are motivated. They want to be engaged.”
The ACLU on March 11 hosted a town hall style event on the University of Miami campus that was livestreamed to locations in all 50 states. Romero said 200,000 people signed up to attend one of an estimated 2,000 local events.
At the event, the ACLU detailed what it said were the rules for street demonstrations as well as protests on sidewalks and in public parks, and the rights people have when they get arrested such as the right to remain silent.
ACLU attorney Lee Rowland said large demonstrations generally require a local permit, but government can’t typically shut down protesters in public places without good reason.
“The government can’t censor you just because it disagrees with your opinion,” Rowland said.
According to an Associated Press report, the ACLU launched an online organizing platform called PeoplePower.org “as a way for people considering a local protest or rally to connect and coordinate with others around the country with similar intentions, and to provide details of ACLU initiatives.”
Another plan is the creation of “freedom cities” around the country that would encourage local officials to pass laws resisting President Donald Trump’s policies such as the deportation of illegal aliens, said Faiz Shakir, ACLU national political director.