Despite the fact that the right to gather with fellow citizens in protest is a key element of a functional democracy, as well as a crucial facet of the First Amendment, many Republican lawmakers have ramped up anti-protest legislation efforts in recent months.
The multi-state push comes following a year of particularly urgent nationwide protests against police brutality, including extended demonstrations in response to the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in Minneapolis during an arrest at the hands of white police officer Derek Chauvin. Nearly one year later, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The issue of protests, however, reentered the Chauvin conviction news cycle after a number of conservative figures argued that a juror’s participation in the 2020 March on Washington while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt could be used as part of an appeal campaign.
Speaking more broadly, Republican leaders seem hell-bent on demonizing the act of protest at every turn, including via some potentially detrimental legislative efforts.
Below, we take a look at where things stand across the U.S. with regards to protest-targeting legislation.