Over 45,000 ACLU Action-Takers Submitted Comments Against Proposed Rules Suppressing Protest Rights

CONTACT: media@acludc.org

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service today announced that it is withdrawing proposed regulations that would have drastically stifled protests near the White House and on the National Mall. The proposal would have closed off 80 percent of the White House sidewalk for protesters, imposed new limits on spontaneous demonstrations, and opened the door to charging fees for protesting.

The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU-DC led a months-long campaign against the unconstitutional proposal. The campaign united groups across the ideological spectrum and resulted in thousands of ACLU members and supporters submitting comments against the proposed plan. NPS received more than 100,000 comments by the time the comment period closed, demonstrating the importance of the notice and comment period and the impact it can have.

Below is comment from ACLU-DC Legal Co-Director Arthur Spitzer:

“The National Mall and the White House area are places of special importance for Americans to gather and express their concerns directly to the nation's leaders. President Trump may not like to see and hear people protesting his policies, but the First Amendment guarantees all of us the right to be seen and heard. The National Park Service was wise to respond to the massive public objection to its proposed rules and recognize that its primary responsibility is to the Constitution."

An ACLU blog post on the proposal is here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/rights-protesters/trump-administration-seeks-stifle-protests-near-white-house-and.

The ACLU’s public comment against the proposal is here: https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-public-comment-opposing-trump-administration-proposal-restrict-protest-rights-washington?redirect=nps-protest-public-comment.