There are important “do’s” and “don'ts” to protesting, according to the ACLU of Ohio, which is holding a workshop in Columbus to teach people how to demonstrate within their constitutional rights.
Protests and demonstrations are protected under the First Amendment. But protests that get out of hand and turn violent are no longer peaceful assemblies and can fall out of Constitutional protection.
That’s among the concepts the ACLU reviewed in the workshop.
ACLU staff attorney Elizabeth Bonham says these same protections are awarded to hate groups as well. And while she condemns their racism, Bonham says allowing free speech is better than keeping those ideas in the shadows.
“They fester and they become even more dangerous and what the first amendment does is that it entitles everyone to hear every attitude outside in the light of day," Bonham says.
She adds that gives other groups an opportunity to rally a counter protest.