Trump’s Plan to Charge Protesters for Free Speech
Must Be Stopped
URGENT ACTION NEEDED: SIGN THE PETITION BELOW
For the first time ever, the Federal Government will charge protesters for demonstrating in the Nation’s Capital under a new proposal issued by the National Park Service. Led by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, an enemy of environmental and social justice activism, the NPS has proposed an astonishing remaking of the permitting system for demonstrations on federal land in Washington, D.C. Chief among a series of radical attacks on free speech rights and access to public space is the plan to charge fees for all permitted demonstrations.
Under the Constitution, the people have the right to free speech on our public lands and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Under Trump’s proposed regulations, grassroots organizers who want to exercise these rights will first need to pay up to do so.
Only well-financed entities will be able to afford to protest under Trump’s plan, which references charging protesters “event management” costs, the costs of barricades and fencing erected at the discretion of the police, trash removal and sanitation charges, permit application charges, costs assessed on use of grass, turf, benches, poles and walkways.
This is just one subsection in a massive rewriting of regulations that would radically roll back hard fought rights to protest and dramatically alter the landscape of free speech. This is a dystopian anti-democratic proposal that was just published in the Federal Register.
Secretary Zinke’s hostility to the public’s use and safeguarding of public land is well known. Last year he proposed a massive increase on public fees to our national parks, a proposal that the American people soundly rejected through public comment. Now, Zinke wants you to pay to protest. Meanwhile, he has used $138,000 of tax-payer dollars for new doors in his office, $200,000 for chartered and military flights, tens of thousands for helicopters and private planes including for resort and donor visits.
Unless we stop them, this will mark the end of free speech as we know it. The Trump Administration and its officials are happy to gut regulations it sees as too intrusive on corporations when it comes to reducing the poison in our air and water and the destruction and theft of our public lands. But when it comes to people assembling together on public space in Washington, D.C, Trump is eager to take the "free" out of free speech and to create regulatory burdens and restrictions that will stifle and extinguish First Amendment activity.
It is up to us. We will not stand by and allow this to happen, not now and not for future generations. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is undertaking a nationwide campaign and legal struggle to resist and fight this proposed devastation of free speech rights. Support this petition as a first step to make your voice heard.
To Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke:
We demand that you drop the National Park Service’s proposed new regulations that extinguish, curtail or impose fees for the exercise of Free Speech activities and dissent in the nation’s capital. Public spaces in Washington D.C. belong to the people. Charging the public for the right to engage in First Amendment activities, to petition their government for a redress of grievances, is a declaration of war on basic democratic rights. The efforts by you and President Trump to ram through new NPS regulations rolling back hard won and cherished rights to protest in Washington D.C. are vigorously opposed by the vast majority of people in this country.