On Monday, the Trump administration released its first round of new policies and guidance for enforcing civil rights, including requiring protesters to obtain permits from local authorities before attending protests.
The first rule would require protesters to provide photo identification, with those who don’t have a valid permit to face charges of “obstructing a police officer.”
Protesters would also be subject to arrest and prosecution if they impede a police investigation.
It’s a change from the Obama administration’s initial guidance on the issue, which urged protesters to be respectful of law enforcement.
But the Trump Administration did not specifically outline the changes, and critics pointed to the policy changes as further proof that Trump’s administration has little regard for the rights of protesters.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department had sent out a notice of intent to enforce the new rules, adding that they would also apply to the demonstrations in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, Lauren Ehlers, told the Times that the department was also considering a request to the Department for a permit to hold a protest in a particular location, but that it was not clear when that would occur.
“Our goal is to protect the rights and safety of the people who are marching and protesting and to protect people from harm,” Ehlers told the paper.
“As the Trump Administrations Justice Department continues to enforce our civil rights laws, we are reviewing how the Department can take additional actions to protect them and the rights they represent.”
On Tuesday, a senior Justice Department official told ABC News that Trump would issue an order in the coming days on civil rights and that the new policy would include guidelines for police officers.
Trump’s first order was met with widespread backlash, with some commentators comparing it to the infamous ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.
According to the Associated Press, Trump said at the time, “You’ve seen some of these rallies.
You’ve seen people come out, they have these Nazi flags.
You know, and you see, and they’re very violent.
And you know, I’m not going to permit it.
But they’re going to come.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
But in his first order, the new order specifically calls out white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups for their actions, calling on the federal government to investigate and prosecute them.
The White House also released its new policy for dealing with demonstrators, which is aimed at “defending the rights to assemble, protest, and petition, and to free speech and association.”
According to Politico, it includes a list of “criminal penalties for those who violate these civil rights statutes, including fines, imprisonment, and even death.”
The new policy is likely to face fierce opposition from those who are protesting Trump’s actions, as the Department has long sought to prosecute protesters for their activism.
“The Trump administration’s latest move to crack down on civil-rights protesters is yet another step in a decades-long effort to silence dissent,” said Jesselyn Radack, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California, in a statement on Monday.
“It is troubling that President Trump has chosen to use his bully pulpit to further suppress speech and to punish those who dare to speak out against his administration.”
A group of protesters outside the White House on Monday morning.
The Trump administration will not be deterred by their actions.
They have no place in our country.
The protesters will be punished.
They will be held accountable for their violent behavior.
#ResistTheTrump https://t.co/4yMgDlk6r0 — ACLU National (@ACLU) August 20, 2021 A number of protesters have been arrested at Trump events this year, including one demonstrator who was arrested at the White Senate on July 27 after he was seen holding an American flag that was draped over the door.
“They want to put a chill on everyone in America.
I don’t think this president will let them,” said James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man arrested after being charged with malicious wounding after he allegedly hit a protester with his car, the Associated Statesman reported.
“This is a direct threat to all Americans, all citizens, and we’re gonna stand up for what’s right.”
Fields pleaded not guilty to the charge.