The Law: How to Be a Demonstrator And Stay Out of Jail

Even in the age of chronic protest, few Americans know the rules for public demonstrations. It is not surprising. The First Amendment firmly guarantees every person the right to speak freely, assemble peaceably and petition the Government for redress of grievances. Yet there is no constitutional right to express dissent at any particular time or place. State or municipal governments are free to restrict almost any public speech or conduct that clearly threatens to incite violence or impede some of society's other legitimate interests.

As a result, U.S. laws and customs dealing with demonstrations...

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