The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma has responded to a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he appeared to warn against protests, among other things, ahead of his scheduled campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, KFOR reported. The group called out what it said was the president’s possible attempts at intimidating would-be protestors and reminded citizens of their first amendment rights.
On Friday, Donald Trump tweeted to warn any would-be protestors, looters, low-lifes, anarchists, or agitators that there would be consequences that were much harsher than those that groups faced in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. Those areas, as well as many others around the country, experienced protests and civil unrest after George Floyd’s death.
The Oklahoma chapter of the ACLU quickly released a statement to remind people of their rights under the Constitution to protest peacefully.
“The right to protest and peaceful assembly is not only at the core of the First Amendment, it is critical to a functioning democracy. In recent weeks we have repeatedly seen law enforcement officials violate this right through means intended to thwart public expression. Contrary to what the President suggests, rights and liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment do not vary state to state. The President’s attempt to threaten protesters is not only a gross misunderstanding of our Constitution, but it also threatens our democracy,” read the statement.
The group also encouraged Oklahomans to call the civil liberties hotline at (405) 524-8511 if they felt that they experienced something inappropriate from law enforcement. The statement also directed protestors to upload footage directly to its mobile justice app.
Also, the Oklahoma ACLU let people who will be in the state this weekend know that in addition to a police presence, there will also be National Guard and Secret Service on the ground during President Trump’s visit on Saturday, June 20. The group said it was committed to holding law enforcement and those who direct them accountable for their actions.
Trump’s rally is his first since the coronavirus pandemic led to many areas of the country shutting down and people staying home to help prevent the spread of the virus. It was initially planned for June 19, but because that date is Juneteenth and Tulsa is the site of the Oklahoma Race Riots, he chose to move the event to Saturday, June 20.
Earlier this week, supporters began lining up near the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, which is where Trump’s rally will take place tomorrow. The city is prepared for several thousand attendees.
Today, civil rights leader Al Sharpton will lead a Juneteenth celebration near Greenwood, which was also known as Black Wall Street. The area is just blocks away from the BOK Center.