Drop the Charges Against Trump Inauguration Protesters
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On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. A wide variety of demonstrations countered the spectacle of the inauguration, making it clear to the world that many of us reject the president's cruel and divisive leadership.
A day of defeat became a moment of resistance, setting the stage for grassroots resistance that has persisted throughout the Trump administration.
Unfortunately, with resistance comes repression. After attacking protesters (including small children, and other unlikely 'rioters') with pepper spray and ‘sting-ball’ grenades, DC police cordoned off an entire city block and mass-arrested more than 230 people.
In an unprecedented move, the US Attorney for DC later indicted more than 200 people with at least eight felonies each—for rioting, inciting a riot, conspiracy to riot, and property destruction—which carry sentences of up to 75 years in prison.
As the cases progressed, some charges were dismissed for various reasons (including legal mistakes and lack of evidence). The first trials were a complete defeat for the prosecution, with a jury returning 42 'not-guilty' verdicts.
Yet, 59 defendants still face sentences of more than 60 years.
With these unprecedented, excessive charges, the US Government is cracking down on dissent. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression—including state legislation to criminalize protest, and the demonization of #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeAKnee.
Join the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Defending Rights and Dissent, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and many other civil liberties advocates in standing with the J20 defendants.
Call on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for DC to stop criminalizing dissent!
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