When and where can you lawfully protest? - FOX Carolina 21

When and where can you lawfully protest?

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Protests in Charlotte (Sep. 23, 2016/FOX Carolina) Protests in Charlotte (Sep. 23, 2016/FOX Carolina)

We all have the constitutional right to protest or peacefully assembly but standing up for what you believe in can be challenging.

There is a line between peaceful protests and illegal protests.  Some protests Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Charlotte after the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott were labeled unlawful - largely because of the violence and vandalism.

Master Deputy Ryan Flood with the Greenville Sheriff’s Office said, "Anytime you're breaching someone's peace by using abusive, vulgar language, outbursts, destruction of property, burglarizing businesses or residents, setting things on fire."         

Thursday night protests there are being called peaceful and mostly lawful with just a handful of arrests. But knowing how and when you can protest varies and depends on where you live.

In some places you need a permit, but not in all. For example, the city of Greenville requires a permit to assemble.  Greenville County does not require that permit.

"Within the county, there are several municipalities and all those municipalities will have their own governance decided by their city ordinances. But, in the county, anyone can protest without any kind of required permit," Flood said.

Also, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, the right to protest is critical to a functioning democracy.

But the ACLU adds doing so can be challenging and many people are arrested during protests for different reasons. Flood said there are additional laws during a state of emergency such as the midnight curfew issued in Charlotte on Thursday.         

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