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Guide to Peaceful Demonstration and Protest

Updated on May 27, 2011

Guide to Protesting

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." -- The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

A lot of people share a common misconception that all protesters are frothing at the mouth lunatics.

Unfortunately, it's the extremists that stir worry and controversy throughout the world.

There are a lot of protesters out there that get behind good causes; they spread messages of hope and draw attention to worthy causes. That's what the First Amendment is all about, after all.

Nevertheless, you'll undoubtedly turn on your television or pick up a newspaper this week and read about a violation of some protesters' civil liberties.

Why does this happen?

It's true that a working democracy cannot employ excessive force, abuse or false arrest by law enforcement, but extremist rhetoric should not be tolerated -- especially when it makes use of hate propaganda.

When I say hate propaganda, I'm not implying dislike toward a political party or leader; but hatred towards a religious group, race of people or gender.

Guide to Peaceful Demonstration and Protest:

1. Hurting yourself or others will not bring recognition to your cause. It will only bring pain to you and others, not to mention a possible prison sentence.

2. There's power in numbers, but credibility is just as powerful. You are the company that you keep.

3. Once you break the law, your right to protest ends.

4. You have your rights and your fellow Americans have theirs. Respect the rights of others.

5. Do not drag your children into your protests. Let them form their own set of beliefs.

6. Support a causes that you care about and don't be a hypocrite.

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