The Right To Peaceful Protest By Lola Smith What does the right to peaceful protest mean? According to the Constitution of the United States of America, it means citizens of the USA have the right to assemble peacefully. It allows the public to express their anger, opposition and opinions publicly. This is just one of the basis that a free or democratic society builds their society upon. The 1st Amendment is a law of sorts that prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. With that being the case, sit-ins, marches, meetings, demonstrations and other types of protests fall under the protection of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. So basically, what the 1st Amendment protects is the right to assemble peacefully and bars law enforcement from from stopping a protest, however in nature, because of the basis or underlying cause of the demonstration. Although, law enforcement may interfere with public protests because they turn violent, law enforcement cannot stop them if and when they get to that point. People are passionate and when they feel what they believe is right or wrong, they will express it. But what happens when their beliefs are expressed in a way that is aggressive, forceful and violent? Are they actually doing good for their cause or hurting it? The answer to that question can only be answered depending on which side of the fence one is on. The current protests happening in Ferguson, MO is what made me think about the 1st Amendment. It made me think that the citizens of the USA have every right to protest the killing of a teenage boy in that city. I see the passion for their cause, the rage over the tragedy and the outcries against police state brutality. What I also see is violence sparked by the opposition of the tragic act. Looting, robbing and destruction of property is what I see the cause creating. As I sit at home, hundreds of miles away from the center of this very heated protest, I can't help but wonder ... how would I react if the death of one of my family members was caused by police activity and I did not feel it was justified? Would I be a peaceful protester or would I want to go in with guns blazing? I don't know and never want to know. All I can do is pray that the violent activity comes to a stop soon so the innocent victims can get their lives back to normal and so the of the death of Michael Brown can be investigated fully and accurately. RIP.