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1. The First Amendment is strong, but not absolute.The government generally cannot regulate the content of your protest message. However, it can place time, place, and manner restrictions on how you present your message as long as those restrictions are nondiscriminatory and narrowly drawn. For example, the government may be able to restrict all protestors from picketing within a certain distance of a state courthouse. However, it may not allow protestors to picket in a certain area who hold one viewpoint, and deny protestors to picket who hold a different viewpoint.
2. You may not have a right to protest on private property. The First Amendment restricts government action. Therefore, you are generally free to protest on traditional “public forums” like streets, sidewalks, and parks. However, the First Amendment does not restrict private parties from placing restrictions on private property.
3. You may need a permit. Small scale protests in public forums usually do not require permits. Many different types of protest events do, however. Generally speaking those that do are parades that may block traffic, large rallies that will use some sort of sound amplifier, or rallies at parks or plazas.
In politically charged times you may be out protesting on one side or the other. Whatever issue you are advocating, stay safe and know your rights. If you want to talk to me about your rights I can be reached by phone at (360) 205-2256 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every legal issue is very unique. Accordingly, the information in this blog is intended as general education material and not as legal advice. If you think you may have a legal issue you should consult an attorney.