LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a demand today for Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory to rescind his ban on “congregating or loitering” downtown, which effectively bans protests, they said in a press release.
The ban threatens penalities of up to $500 or six months in jail.
“We all recognize the importance of social distancing during the pandemic, but the First Amendment still applies,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “The Mayor’s order is a clear violation of the right to protest guaranteed to every American under the Constitution and must be revoked immediately. The Mayor’s inflammatory comments about protest leaders are a clear indication of the true motive behind this policy: to criminalize peaceful demonstrators and suppress their right to demand justice for the killing of Trayford Pellerin. Criminalizing peaceful protest and attacking his own constituents will not help this community heal, nor will it bring about the urgent change that’s needed to stop the scourge of police violence against Black communities. The ACLU of Louisiana will be closely monitoring the enforcement of this order and stands ready to take legal action if necessary to protect the right to protest in Lafayette.”