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Free Speech Zones at Political Conventions Violate First Amendment

Credit: harpers.org

Both political parties will hold their conventions shortly and it’s a certainty that protesters will be isolated and herded into noxious “free speech zones” far from the conventions themselves. This Orwellian practice began in earnest at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston. Protesters were permitted to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of speech only in a caged area miles from the convention itself, making a mockery of the concept.

The practice has spread widely since then. Both parties are equally guilty in suppressing constitutional freedoms as are too many mayors of cities hosting politically-tinged conventions, corporate meetings, or anything that might draw a protester. The agendas of the political class apparently are not to be interrupted by raucous protest coming from the streets. But this country had its birth in protest by the people against what they saw as out-of-touch, arrogant rulers. Yet today that kind of freedom of speech is increasingly being threatened and muzzled.

When did free speech become something that was only allowable in certain areas chosen by political parties and law enforcement without permission or knowledge of the populace and with no legal authority?

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