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ACTION ALERT: Stop Trump's Unconstitutional Suppression of Protests in the Nation's Capital


October 14, 2018
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund & Veterans for Peace

New rules proposed by the Trump administration and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke will severely restrict (if not eliminate) peaceful protests near the White House -- and the Trump Hotel -- by imposing restrictions on certain protests, banning all vigils while instituting long waiting periods for requests, granting fewer permits, restricting the use of sound systems and requiring demonstrators to pay steep fees to cover costs of barricades, roadblocks and police overtime.

http://www.justiceonline.org/take_action_now_stop_trump_new_laws_to_crush_protests_in_washington_dc#/5/

ACTION ALERT: Stop Trump's Plan to Crush
Free Speech Protests in the Nation's Capital

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund & Veterans for Peace



Under the proposed Trump-Zinke rules, the Women's
March on Washington would not have happened.


These restrictions would undermine
hard-won victories for Freedom of Speech
and the Right of Assembly.
We need people to take action now
to comment on these proposals.


The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

WASHINGTON (October 12, 2018) -- New rules proposed by the Trump administration and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke will:
impose steep fees and costs on demonstrations in Washington, D.C;
effectively ban protests on the White House sidewalks;
force protesters to pay the costs of barricades erected at police discretion;
cover park ranger wages and overtime, and harm to grass from standing on it;
create waiting periods, removing any obligation of the government to promptly process or approve permits;
restrict and suppress spontaneous demonstrations that respond to breaking events;
create hair-triggers allowing police to end protests for the most minor of issues;
restrict sound and staging;
ban long-term vigils or protest presences;
make protesters pay for expensive "turf covers," among many other radical restrictions of free speech rights.

These changes will affect all parkland under the National Park Service (NPS) in the nation's capital including the National Mall, Lafayette Park, the White House Sidewalk, Lincoln Memorial, the Ellipse, Freedom Plaza and the sidewalks and parkland along Pennsylvania Avenue -- including the sidewalk in front of the Trump Hotel.

This is a dangerous anti-democratic proposal. If enacted, this will mark the end of free speech as we know it and will be a dystopian model that spreads across the county. The NPS is required by law to respond to the public's comments on these new changes. Comment now and make them stop this proposed roll back of precious civil rights and democratic freedoms. Don't delay -- you must submit your comment by October 15.



ACTION ALERT:
Stop Trump Administration; Protest Suppression!

Veterans for Peace

WASHINGTON (October 12, 2018) -- New rules have been issued that will eliminate the right to protest as we know it in Washington, D.C, but the government is required to consider public comments before it can make the rules final. Formal comments in opposition must be submitted by Monday, October 15th.

The new rules proposed by Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke will directly impact the work of Veterans For Peace and all movements for peace and justice. They are anti-democratic and undermine the 1st Amendment.

The rules will impose steep fees and costs on demonstrations in Washington, D.C. They effectively ban protests on the White House sidewalks and force protesters to pay the costs of barricades erected at police discretion, park ranger wages and overtime, and for harm to grass from standing on it.

The rules create waiting periods removing any obligation of the government to promptly process or approve permits and restrict and suppress spontaneous demonstrations that respond to breaking events.

TAKE ACTION NOW
If you oppose these rules, take action before October 15th. Follow this link to the NPS comment page, or submit your comments via the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund platform to voice your opposition. Your statement of opposition will be part of the public record of comments that must be considered before changes can be made. Let NPS know how these changes will hurt you, the groups/issues that matter to you, and democracy overall.

Comments must be submitted before October 15th.
Veterans For Peace is working with PCJF to make sure our opposition to these rule changes is heard loud and clear.
Visit the VFP Website to Read Our Full Call to Action.

The Trump Administration Is Proposing
National Park Rule Changes to Make Protest
Almost Impossible in Washington D.C.
Submit Formal Comment in Opposition by Monday, October 15th


New rules have been issued that will eliminate the right to protest as we know it in Washington, D.C. but the government is required to consider public comments before it can make the rules final. You only have until Monday, October 15th to submit your statement of opposition.

Veterans For Peace is working with the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) to make sure our opposition to these rule changes is heard loud and clear. We are developing a statement to send to the National Park Service (NPS). Our official organizational statement will help give VFP standing if there is a lawsuit to halt the changes.

If you oppose these rules, take action right now. Follow this link to the NPS comment page to voice your opposition. Your statement of opposition will be part of the public record of comments that must be considered before changes can be made.

You can make comments via PCJF platform or directly on the NPS comment page.

The new rules proposed by Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke will directly impact the work of Veterans For Peace and all movements for peace and justice. They are anti-democratic and undermine the 1st Amendment.

The rules will impose steep fees and costs on demonstrations in Washington, D.C. They effectively ban protests on the White House sidewalks and force protesters to pay the costs of barricades erected at police discretion, park ranger wages and overtime, and for harm to grass from standing on it. The rules create waiting periods removing any obligation of the government to promptly process or approve permits and restrict and suppress spontaneous demonstrations that respond to breaking events. That is just the beginning.

The changes will affect all parkland under the National Park Service (NPS) in the nation's capital including the National Mall, Lafayette Park, the White House Sidewalk, Lincoln Memorial, the Ellipse, Freedom Plaza and the sidewalks and parkland along Pennsylvania Avenue -- including the sidewalk in front of the Trump Hotel.

Take Action Right Now To Stop Trump's Plan to Crush Protests. Don't delay -- you must submit your comment by October 15.

Learn more about the rule changes:
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund -- Washington Post Op Ed, Analysis of the Regulations
American Civil Liberties Union -- Trump Administration Seeks to Stifle Protest, ACLU Fights Back as Trump Pushes 'Stealth Proposal' to Limit Public's Right to Protest Outside White House


ACTION: Veterans for Peace

Please let the NPS know how these changes will hurt you, the groups/issues that matter to you, and democracy overall. Follow this link to post to National Park Service (NPS) comment page.

I am opposed to these new rules that act to restrict and burden the ability to demonstrate in our nation's capital. As a veteran I was told that I served to preserve and protect the US Constitution. These rule changes infringe on our First Amendment rights to assemble in our public parks, sidewalks and streets to engage in debate and to protest policies and actions of our government. These rights are central to democracy and should not be further restricted.

The NPS has put out a dense regulatory document that fails to provide explanation or justification as to why these proposals are necessary.

Many of these proposals lack enough detail or explanation to fully understand how they will work in practice and give too much discretion to government officials.

I am opposed to the NPS plan to impose any fees or costs on demonstrations overall or "special event elements" within demonstrations.

I am also opposed to the plan to close most of the White House sidewalk, which will effectively shut down protest assemblies.

This is an offense to my time in the US military and the values I am told my nation stands for.



12 Ways That The Proposals
Undermine Our Constitutional Rights

Popular Resistance and The Partnership for Civil Justice

The Partnership for Civil Justice, which has litigated many cases involving DC protest, has developed an analysis of the proposed rules. Below are 12 ways that the proposals undermine our constitutional rights.

1. Pay to Protest, Part I -- NPS to charge steep costs and fees on any demonstration activity.

2. Pay to Protest, Part 2 -- NPS to deconstruct free speech activities and charge fees and costs on "special event elements" (i.e., music performances, exhibits) within a demonstration. Removal of the distinct protections and processing of demonstrations in order to treat them in part like corporate sponsored and commercial special events. This is a back-door way to assess prohibitive costs on protests.

3. Permits in Limbo and Suppression of Spontaneous Demonstrations -- Removal of the "24 Hour Deemed Granted Rule" that mandates swift action on applications and elimination of any deadline whatsoever for NPS to finally approve a permit application. Spontaneous demonstrations responding to breaking events can be stifled.

4. Closure of the iconic White House sidewalks to demonstration assemblies (leaving a five foot sliver for a pedestrian walkway)

5. Closure of other public spaces on the South side of White House

6. New Hair-Trigger to Shut Down Protests -- Allowing police to end a protest for any violation of a permit, no matter how inconsequential, by anyone (even a counter-protester)

7. Protecting Grass Over Free Speech -- Codifies the Turf Management Plan with its prohibitively expensive requirements, including forced rental of mega-expensive plastic "Turf Covers" so protester’s feet don't touch the grass

8. Ends Long Term Vigils and Protest Presences -- by setting a maximum period of 30 days, or less, for a protest (the current maximum is four months)

9. Expands the strictest restrictions on signs and banner size and material

10. Prohibits structures (e.g., stage, fixed sound) within the drop line of trees in Lafayette Park or the Ellipse -- but Lafayette Park is filled with trees

11. Prohibits structures (i.e., stage and sound setup or literature tables) without a permit, including in parks for which no permit is needed to have a demonstration [How can protesters use a no-permit-needed park for an assembly without stage or sound to reach the protest?]

12. NPS also seeks comment on whether to decrease or increase the number of people, and parks, in which protest is allowed without any permit at all (i.e., Franklin Square, McPherson Park, potentially Dupont Circle, and more). Apparently, NPS thinks even fewer no-permit-needed spaces are a possibility.

Creating An Effective Comment On These Proposals
Remember your comment will help with stopping the National Park Service (NPS) from proceeding and could be helpful if these rules are challenged in court. They will provide evidence that lawyers can cite when arguing against these restrictions on our First Amendment Rights.

An effective comment will:
* Explain how the right to protest is important to you.

* Tell the NPS how these changes will hurt you, and the organizations you work with as well as the issues that matter to you.

* If you have specific examples of protests you have helped to organize or participated in, explain how these changes would have impacted you.

* Review the 12 ways the new rules will undermine Freedom of Speech and describe situations where they would have affected your action or could affect your action in the future.

* Try to comment on as many of the 12 issues as possible. Explain why you object to each.

How To Submit Your Comments
You only have until October 15, 2018 to make comments on the National Park Service's proposed rule changes.

Your comments have to be submitted through the Federal Register.
Please click here to submit comments to add your comment to the Federal Register website to protest these proposed rules.

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