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Indybay Feature
Sun Mar 29 2020 (Updated 04/01/20)
Know Your Rights During COVID-19 Shelter In Place Orders
People Find Creative Ways to Protest While State Restricts Right To Assemble
While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates public health measures to reduce the impact of the virus on our communities and health care systems, the National Lawyers Guild urges vigilance and resistance to authoritarian and violent tendencies. Historically, states of emergency, mandatory quarantines, and curfews have often been used to expand state control over political and civil freedom. Emergency powers often criminalize movement, freedom of expression, protest, and oppressed communities.

It is possible to build safer communities and respond to COVID-19 without expanding the police or medical surveillance and to ensure community and societal safety in this health emergency without stripping our already limited rights and freedoms or exacerbating societal inequities.

As of March 24, the governors of California, New York, and Louisiana have either stated publicly or passed Executive Orders declaring that people may not gather in groups larger than 10, and must maintain six feet of distance between them. In these cases, it's most likely legal for the government to shut down protests of more than 10 people, or of people who are not practicing social distancing. The National Lawyers Guild suggests having a picket where everyone stands at least six feet apart, a car protest where there is just one person per car, or a vigil broken into several small groups, none of them larger than ten people.

Even though the state has severely restricted the right to assemble, people still find creative ways to protest. Mountain View housing activists held a "rolling rally" on March 27 to demand that city officials enact protections during the COVID-19 outbreak for renters and people who live in mobile homes and other vehicles.

Read More: pdf Know Your Rights during COVID-19 (Coronavirus) | photo Mountain View Rolling Rally Calls for Protections For Renters, RV Dwellers

See Also: video Honk for Justice, SF | photo Innovative COVID-19 Safe Protest in San Francisco | event Honk for Justice: COVID-safe Car Rally to End ICE Detention (3/31)

Related Features: California on Coronavirus Lockdown | Hope for RV Dwellers in Mountain View | Police Action in East Palo Alto Displaces RV Dwellers | Oakland Police Used Aggressive and Violent Tactics Against Protesters and NLG | Coastal Commission Overturns Nighttime RV Ban in Santa Cruz | National Lawyers Guild Wins Settlement for Occupy Oakland Injuries in Campbell vs Oakland | ACLU and National Lawyers Guild File Suit Against Oakland Police Department | NLG Files Lawsuit Against Oakland Police
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