Friday, November 18, 2016

PROTESTING CAN BECOME A FELONY IN CALIFORNIA: Sign the petition to U.S. Senators: Block all Trump appointees

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Destroying property is a crime. That’s true if the culprit is a single vandal, or a group of people involved in rioting. However, peaceful protesting is a protected right under the First Amendment. Maybe.

A Republican Washington state senator who supported Donald Trump is proposing a bill that would slap an “economic terrorism” label on protest activities already prohibited by law and dramatically intensify their penalties.
Those activities earning a “terrorism” label go way beyond the kind of violence you might expect.

The proposed bill would allow police to charge protesters who “block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk” with a class C felony.
Blocking traffic is a tactic often used to bring attention to protests. Currently, protesters who are arrested are charged with a misdemeanor and released, but a felony charge would bring significant fines and jail or probation. It can also result in at least temporary loss of voting rights and limit rights of association.

Terms like “threaten jobs and put public safety at risk” provide for an extremely wide interpretation. If protesters march past a store, are they “blocking commerce”? Is marching in any street potentially putting public safety at risk?

And if you think that you’re not at risk because you don’t get out and protest, think again …
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