Rights of Protesters | Yousef M Faroniya

 

In light of recent events, I thought that it would be a fitting time to review one of the fundamental American freedoms- public protest. Public protest is a right protected by the 1st Amendment to our nation’s constitution, specifically the clause addressing freedom of assembly.

This right is legally protected, but just like all constitutional amendments, they are not without limits. So, what types of actions are permissible and not permissible in Ohio?

PERMITTED

1) Everyone has a right to peacefully protest on public property. As long as such protest doesn’t obstruct traffic.
2) Handing out flyers.
3) Expressing controversial opinions.
4) Filming a protest.
5) Staging a counter-protest. As long as you do not interrupt a protesting group’s activities.

NOT PERMITTED

1) Protest that blocks traffic and violates traffic laws. For such protest that may block or impeded vehicle or pedestrian traffic, a permit may be required.
2) Protest on private property. Such protest would require the permission of the business or property owner.
3) Incite violence. “Fighting words” and threatening violence is not protected speech in a protest.
4) Civil disobedience. By definition, civil disobedience is a violation of the law, and while it is a form of protest, it is not one that is constitutionally protected.

Lastly, keep in mind that refusing to provide a requesting officer with your name, address, and date of birth may result in arrest and a charge of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.