Free Expression and Civil Disobedience

Free Expression and Civil Disobedience

Federal law currently makes it illegal to engage in “speechmaking” and “public expression of views… which has the effect or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers” on the grounds of a national memorial without first getting the government’s permission. This regulation recently led to some shockingly physical arrests at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial of citizens who were doing no more than silently dancing. That incident – which was itself a protest of similar arrests made in 2008 – led to a call for freedom lovers nationwide to gather at nearby national memorials and engage in civil disobedience by expressing themselves without a permit from the government. Dave Roland, the Freedom Center’s Director of Litigation, took part in the St. Louis protest by giving this short speech.

Dave apologizes for his unprofessional appearance in the video, but it was way too hot to wear a suit and he wanted to be comfortable just in case he ended up getting arrested. Many thanks to Lloyd Sloan for shooting the video and for giving us permission to use it.

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