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Growing Unrest is Spurring Civil Disobedience for Change: Know Your Rights

The current political climate has millions of people across America marching and protesting for and against several causes. Denver residents are no exception. From inaugural protests and the women's marches to recent activity surrounding President Trump's SCOTUS pick and his executive order concerning refugees, these events have Coloradans taking to the streets.

This powerful display of democracy in action is an inspiration to many. Exercising your right to protest is a long-standing tradition that has brought about many changes in our country. But be sure to exercise caution and know your rights when you engage in civil disobedience.

Your Rights

You have the right to assemble peaceably and to gather together in nonviolent protest. You typically don't need a permit to march if you remain on the sidewalk and do not block traffic. However, you may require a permit if you want to hold a rally at some plazas and parks, or if you use bullhorns and other amplifying equipment.

Some other rights you possess include the following:

  • You can hand out literature and leaflets on public sidewalks provided you aren't blocking building entrances or physically obstructing pedestrians.
  • You may picket on the sidewalk in an orderly, non-disruptive manner.
  • You can be present at other demonstrations that you oppose and voice this opposition, but you may not engage in physical or disruptive conduct.
  • Police may pat you down if they believe you have a weapon, but you have the right to refuse consent for a search if you are not placed under arrest.
  • You have the right to record the police. 2015 Colorado legislation prohibits police from interfering with your lawful recording of law enforcement activity.

Exercise Safety

Keep in mind that historically, nonviolent movements have been far more successful than violent ones. Participating in actions of civil resistance, such as boycotts, sit-ins, marches, and protests are proactive ways to voice your concerns and strive for the change you seek. Unfortunately though, even these non-violent actions can elicit brutality from law enforcement.

During these events, there exists a heightened chance that protestors may be subject to excessive force by police officers, unlawful arrests, and unauthorized bodily restraint. If your rights are violated in this manner, your safety must be your first concern. Do not escalate the situation or resort to a violent response. Instead, keep your cool, assert your rights firmly and calmly, and then contact a knowledgeable police brutality lawyer.

Your Colorado attorney can help you seek justice for your treatment through a civil action against the police. Your case can also help others and influence change in how citizens and police officers interact in the future during protests.

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