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ACLU - What You Need to Know About H.R. 347, "Criminalizing Protest" Law

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posted on Apr, 26 2012 @ 07:08 PM
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I know the Trespass Bill is nothing new, and it was acknowledged in another thread as having been signed by Obama early last month.

I found this article posted today by Gabe Rottman on the ACLU site explaining the text, for those yet unaware...

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Given the approaching protests, it may be worth providing a more detail on how exactly the law works, and what protesters can expect. Preliminarily, it's important to define one particular term in the law: "restricted buildings or grounds." These are specific geographic zones that have been designated by the Secret Service, and can be located under H.R. 347 in three places:

• The White House or the vice president's residence.
• A building or area where any individual under Secret Service protection is visiting.
• A building or area at which a National Special Security Event (or "NSSE") is taking place (more on that in a second).


Here he explains the "where" in which protesting can now be deemed illegal. Does the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago qualify?

He goes on to explain the "what" that is now specifically forbidden, and how it has changed from past legislation...


Under the existing statute, four types of activities were illegal with respect to these zones, and remain so under the new law:

• You cannot "knowingly" enter or remain in a restricted zone without lawful authority.
• You cannot "knowingly" engage in "disorderly or disruptive" conduct in or near a restricted zone. A prosecutor would have to show, however, that you intended to disrupt government business and that your conduct actually did cause a disruption. Troublingly, the term "disorderly or disruptive conduct" is undefined.
• You cannot "knowingly" block the entrance or exit of one of these restricted zones. Again, however, the prosecutor would have to show that you did so with the intent to disrupt government business.
• Finally, you cannot "knowingly" engage in an act of physical violence against person or property in one of these restricted zones.

You'll notice that "knowingly" is in quotation marks above. This is one of the two major changes to existing law (the other is the extension of the statute to the White House and VP's residence). Previously, the law required someone to act "willfully and knowingly." This is the state of mind the government has to prove you had to establish your guilt (the "intent standard"). "Willfully and knowingly" means that you need to know you're committing a crime. "Knowingly" just means you need to be aware you're in a restricted zone, but not necessarily that it's unlawful.



This legislation isn't exactly new, obviously, but it's hereby been expanded to further restrict dissenting activity. Not that I'm saying it should be expected to cause chaos or anything, but the possibility of overreaction by law enforcement is definitely there. I guess I can't really call it "overreaction" in terms of the updates, though, huh?

As far as the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, the Secret Service is already steady at work dictating where the CANG8 protesters' 'parade' is to be 'allowed,' as reported by progressillinois.com...


The Secret Service told CANG8 that they must end their march with a rally at Cermak and Michigan avenues – not Cermak and Indiana avenues.

This puts CANG8 protesters two blocks away from the McCormick Place Convention Center, where the North American and European heads of state and diplomats that make up the NATO military alliance will enter.
ETA source

So much for freedom of assembly.... or it's effectiveness, anyhow.
edit on 26-4-2012 by jlm912 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 26 2012 @ 07:29 PM
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Now the big questions.

Will nato forces be involved in the arrest and detaining of the deemed criminal protestors?

Will the u.s. armed forces be whisking the arrested away to prisons in foreign lands as has been legalized with the u.s. ndaa ?

The world would like to know, how much straw can that camel carry on its back?



posted on Apr, 26 2012 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by emberscott
 


I'm sure NATO forces will be there. Who knows how much authority they'll be given in light of this law. Big question, indeed.

As for the NDAA being applied, I think that would depend on the extent of the violation and whether it can be deemed "violent."

It's definitely an event I, myself, plan to follow as closely as possible.

I mean, only being allowed to protest no closer than two blocks away?

I kinda think of a football game. What's the point in getting the ball if you're not allowed in the opponent's in-zone??



 
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