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IPFS News Link • Free Speech

The Criminalization of Protest: Say Goodbye To Free Speech in America

•, by Devon DB

A new bill, HR 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, also known as the “Trespassing Bill,” is soon to be signed into law by President Obama. This bill effectively criminalizes protest and will hurt protest groups and movements such as Occupy quite hard.


The bill as states that anyone who knowingly “enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so” with the “intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in or [in] proximity to, any restricted building or grounds” or “impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” will be punished with a fine or “or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both.” (emphasis added)


There are already many problems with the bill as it does not attempt to define what “imped[ing] or disrupt[ing] the orderly conduct of government business or official functions” is, nor does it specify what “government business” is or what an “official function” is. This vagueness will allow for the US government to effectively stifle protest and free speech, thus criminalizing such actions like the upcoming Occupy Chicago anti-NATO/G-8 protests. In addition to this, such a law will make it impossible for Americans to exercise their First Amendment rights when “government business” is being attended to or “official functions” are occurring.


4 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ben Dover
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Comment by McElchap
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 With the criminalization of protest, the demonization of dissent, and a president declaring executive privilege to execute anyone anywhere at any time with no charges and no due process at all, America has met her Stalin. The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 not only allows for military forces to take us into custody for "indefinite detention" or "enhanced interrogation" with no due process, we could be assassinated for any reason at all! And the traitorous government is under no compulsion to explain why to anyone. This means we could be destroyed for even petty political concerns, theft of our property, or any excuse that may be conjured up. America is no longer a free country, but we are still a country dangerously in denial of the socialist revolution that has taken the government. Panetta already admitted the International Socialists command our military agenda, spitting in the face of a Congress that, in the process of disengaging itself from the public, has made itself irrelevant. We must summon courage. We must live free or die trying! For the children.

Comment by PureTrust
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Actually, prohibitions against protests might be a good thing. Why? Because protests don't do much, and the little that they do is only temporary.

If you are serious enough to create or join a protest rally, then start thinking about doing what you are trying to do legally, through the legal channels available.

Who is in Government office in your state? How did they get there? If you held that Government post, what would you do? Remember, the things that you would do are things that will affect thousands - maybe millions.

If you are serious enough to protest, you are serious enough to start a political organization that can get your people elected into Government offices. If you need money, and if your cause and political platform are worthwhile, you can find millionaires and billionaires to support you. But you need to research the law and do the whole thing legally.

In the comments over at, I have outlined the method for doing legal research. It's a start. Start applying the learning of law to your political approaches. It might take time, but your results will be far stronger and more enduring than if you protest.

It's true. Legal research, and doing things right, are a job. One or two days on a protest rally gets things over fast. You can get it over and go back to your TV and beer. But it only infuriates those in authority. And it accomplishes very little. Stat doing it right.

Comment by Rod Souza
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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy