The First Amendment rights of a number of North Carolinians have recently come into question when Alamance County put a ban on protesting near a public confederate monument.
This past week, a federal judge for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled against the ban and in favor of the protesters.
“We hope that Alamance County and the Sheriff’s Office will heed the court’s warning and immediately end their ban on allowing protest on the courthouse grounds,” said Elizabeth Haddix, managing attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Since our hearing in court last week, they are prohibiting any access to protestors during business hours during the workweek, and after 8:30 pm, and during ‘daylight hours’ on the weekend. They are permitting limited access to two sides of the sidewalk on the north side of the Courthouse, with no access to the public sidewalk beside the monument ever. That’s not close to good enough in our view.”
On July 25, the Alamance NAACP’s President Barrett Brown and three other peaceful protestors of the confederate monument in Graham were arrested while standing on the sidewalk beside the monument and refusing to leave.
“We are encouraged by the court’s ruling today,” said Tamara Kersey, one of the plaintiffs, which demonstrates that our First Amendment rights should not be suppressed.” Kersey lives in Graham, is an Alamance NAACP member and Pastor of Johnson Chapel AME, Mebane, N.C.
The court’s text order issued today states that “In the absence of immediate implementation of reasonable restrictions or other material change of circumstances, and subject to further briefing, the Court will likely grant the motion for a preliminary injunction, as a long-term prohibition on protests on courthouse grounds traditionally used as a public forum violates the First Amendment.”
What do you think about the situation?