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Protesters not only ones with rights

October 12, 2011
Salem News

We Americans cherish our constitutional rights to say what we want, when and where we want to say it. Protesting the government, big business, the court system, the military and other facets of "the establishment" is a tradition here.

But so is protecting the rights of everyone to go about our daily lives without interference.

Protest movements apparently aimed at government and businesses have been in the news recently in several cities. A few hundred people have been involved in an "Occupy Wall Street" event in New York City.

On Saturday, a crowd estimated at no more than 200 attempted to storm the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Organizers said they were upset about an exhibit on unmanned drone aircraft used by the military.

After a security guard tried to stop the demonstrators, "he was apparently held" by them, the Associated Press reported. That prompted other guards to use pepper spray to disperse the crowd. One woman was arrested, then released a short time later.

Again, the right to assemble and speak freely is vital to our freedom. But when protesters infringe upon the rights of others by intimidating them, blocking their access to public facilities - or holding them against their will - a line has been crossed.

Police everywhere protest marches and/or "occupations" occur have a responsibility to uphold both the demonstrators' rights and those of other Americans who may not agree with them.



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