Could peaceful protests like the Women’s March held in Washington, D.C. and many other cities around the globe this past weekend become a crime?

In what looks like an all-out assault on First Amendment rights, Republican lawmakers in some states seem to be proposing that demonstrators could be criminally charged for their participation in peaceful protests.

Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa and a number of other states are crafting laws to:

  • Stiffen penalties for protesters who block traffic.
  • Allow motorists to run over protesters.
  • Increasing jail time and fines for environmental protesters.
  • Increase the penalties for “unlawful assembly” after having been “lawfully warned to disperse.”

Civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner spoke with Roland Martin on NewsOne Now about this egregious attempt to silence Americans and keep them from fighting for their rights.

Kushner explained the “hostility” harbored by Republicans against protesters is a direct result of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Martin told his panel of guests the proposed laws are eerily “similar to what happened in Jim Crow days when folks in the South tried to stop the NAACP and others from protesting.”

Cornell W. Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, said, “This chilling of the First Amendment is real … because we’re asking grandparents and grandchildren to stand up for their voting rights and be willing to go to jail.”

He continued, “Where we have legislators who will make civil disobedience honoring the tradition of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King more difficult is somehow, to me, morally inconceivable.”

Watch Roland Martin, Cornell W. Brooks and Jordan Kushner discuss the Republican-led efforts to criminalize peaceful protests in the video clip above.

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

 

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