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actions & protests

Legality of Protesting

Where can one legally protest?
I am curious about where one can legally protest. I know that most public places are open to protesting but not all. I dont think OHSU will let you protest on their grounds.
I would also like to know what constitutes public places. I have been told to leave the complex that houses Wal-Mart at Holgate and 82nd as it was private. Even though a huge sidewalk and road run thorugh it.

The reason that I ask is because I saw some people protesting in a strip mall type area (not even as public as Wal-Mart with the road and sidewalk cutting thru) and being talked to by the site manager and the local Gresham police.

I was able to talk to them after the police left and they told me that because the strip mall was considered a public place, they had the right to be there. They told me that recent court cases had left gray areas about was was considered public right of ways. I thought for sure that the Gresham police would have arrested them for trespassing if they could have since the property manager had asked them to leave.

With developing being the way that it is today, it appears that is some areas the only way to reach the public is by going to these strip malls and shopping industrial complexes.

I know that Schumacher had talked about moving to a large mall to avoid protesters but would that legally protect them? More specifically can I be arrested for protesting Wal-Mart if I stick to the sidewalk along the road that cuts through the complex?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Speak! 09.Mar.2007 13:47


This is a very gray area since there are issues of having access to the public, even if on private property. The Rose Garden has "free speech zones" specifically for this reason, even though these "zones" are a joke.

You can even be arrested by police if the law is on your side and then the charges may be dropped later. I have been arrested multiple times like this, and was never convicted while protesting a rodeo.

The sidewalk going down that road to Walmart should be legal. A few years ago a conviction was overturned about protesters at a circus at Lane County Fairgrounds. Even though there were sidewalks outside the grounds, it was argues you could not have fair access to the public. The people arrested were insides the fairgrounds passing out literature and this conviction was overturned because of this fact.

But like I siad before, being ablt to legally argue your rights to free speach is not the same as not being arrested. But cops must warn you before arrested you, so you can see what they argue.

FYI- I am not a lawyer but only know this from experience.

An example 09.Mar.2007 14:41

Ben Waiting

This previous link is an interesting account of harassment and somewhat pertains to your question about protesting