The DKT Liberty Project co-signed the “The Right to Protest During the Pandemic” with the National Coalition Against Censorship. We urge all public officials to recognize their obligation to defend First Amendment rights while they protect public safety. These rights are critically important during uncertain times like these. Here’s a clip, and the full letter is here.
On April 14, 2020, the police department in Raleigh, North Carolina, tweeted, “Protesting is a non-essential activity,” as an explanation for breaking up a protest. As organizations dedicated to protecting civil liberties and the First Amendment, the undersigned groups are deeply disturbed by this statement and other remarks and actions by public officials suggesting that peaceful protest can be outlawed during a national crisis. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic cannot be used to justify the suspension of First Amendment rights. People must be free to express disagreement with government decisions, even when it involves criticism of essential public health measures.