ACLU responds after Trump issues warning to protesters ahead of Tulsa rally

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 (CNN) — One day before thousands of people are expected to gather in Tulsa for President Donald Trump’s campaign rally, he posted a warning to those who plan to protest.

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!” he tweeted.

It was a turnabout from Trump’s declaration earlier this month that he is an “ally of all peaceful protesters.”

On Friday, the ACLU of Oklahoma responded by reminding protesters that they have the right to protest and peacefully assemble under the First Amendment.

“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. While the President is in Oklahoma this weekend, we will continue to monitor the way in which law enforcement engages with protesters through our civil liberties hotline, (405) 524-8511, and through footage submitted from the front lines on our mobile justice app. We are aware that the law enforcement presence on the ground in Tulsa will not only include police presence, but also members of the National Guard and Secret Service. We are especially mindful of how a militarized law enforcement presence can escalate harm or threat of harm to protesters. We remain committed to holding law enforcement and the elected officials who direct them accountable for their actions.”

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