Oct. 16, 2018
Unconstitutional Protest Restrictions Proposed Under Administration That Hates Protests
Public Citizen Opposes National Park Service Protest Limits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Park Service (NPS) should not restrict the constitutional right of ordinary citizens to use public sidewalks and parks in the District of Columbia to protest federal lawmakers and officials, Public Citizen said in a comment (PDF) filed on Monday night.
“The NPS proposed changes must be considered against the significant background fact that President Donald Trump does not like protesters. He has said that protesting ought to be illegal, and he has called for protesters at his campaign events to be ejected and/or attacked,” said Paul Alan Levy, attorney for Public Citizen and author of the comment.
In the comment, Public Citizen objected to the NPS charging fees for marches and rallies, ostensibly to pay for police supervision, fences and barriers, and post-event park repairs – arguing that these fees violate the First Amendment. Public Citizen urged the NPS to shelve the current rulemaking and start over with a process that consults stakeholders who would be affected by proposed changes.