You have the right to protest. The right to join your fellow citizens in peaceful assembly and to express your views through protest is protected by the First Amendment and is crucial to a functioning democracy. Before participating in any kind of protest or demonstration, it’s a good idea to have a clear idea exactly what your rights are, and a number of organizations like the Legal Aid Society, the ACLU (here is a PDF version of their Protesters’ Rights document), and CNN have published guides to what you should know about organizing a protest, participating in a protest, your right to take pictures or shoot video at a protest, what to do if you’re arrested, how to protect your digital security if arrested, and what to do if you feel your rights have been violated.
Many legal groups strive to provide affordable legal assistance to activists. You can find help at:
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley
Dedicated to providing free, high-quality counsel in civil matters where basic human needs are at stake for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford an attorney.
LawHelpNY Legal information for New Yorkers who cannot afford an attorney.
This article offers further information: US News & World Report: How to find legal help when you can’t afford a lawyer.
NYCLU has provided guidelines for demonstrating in New York City.
The Law division of the Library of Congress on the Right to Peaceful Assembly.
The New York State Unified Court System provides a roundup of links to Lawyers and Legal Help from the NY Court System.
And, finally, here’s a handy infographic on protesting safely. Please stay safe.