Republican lawmakers in numerous states are pushing legislation that would place restrictions on protesting rights. According to The Washington Post, the bills being introduced in 17 states would ramp up punishments for protesters who block highways and ban the use of masks, among other restrictions, in an effort to counter what Republicans say are manufactured, “paid,” and “professional” protesters. Lee Rowland of the American Civil Liberties Union said the GOP lawmakers pushing these bills want to increase “penalties for protest-related activity to the point that it results in self-censorship among protesters who have every intention to obey the law.” Demonstrations have been taking place nationwide since the election of Donald Trump as president, and Republican lawmakers have been facing angry constituents at town halls in their home states. President Trump has dismissed the protests as being largely organized by liberal activists.
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