Protesters' Rights in Georgia
Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
Protestors have rights.
You have the right to free speech during a protest.
You have the right to express your views through your words, signs, flyers, or symbolic acts (like wearing a t-shirt or carrying a flag).
There are limits on your freedom of speech. Your speech is not protected if:
- you are threatening others or asking others to commit crimes.
- You are on private property.
You have the right to take pictures or video during a protest.
As long as you are in a public place, you have the right to photograph or record anything, including law enforcement.
Police officers may not legally take your phone or camera without a warrant or consent.
They may not ask you to delete your photographs or video.
Police officers may only order you to stop if your filming is truly interfering with their jobs.
You have the right to peacefully protest in a public place.
However, if there is violence or a disturbance of the peace, the police may legally disperse the crowd.
If you do not disperse when you are ordered to, you may be arrested.
The police must give a warning before they take actions to disperse a crowd.
If the police do order protestors to leave, they must tell you:
- How much time you have to leave,
- What will happen if you do not leave, and
- Give a clear path to leave.
Even if a police officer is violating your rights, you should try to remain calm in the moment.
Take note of:
- The officer’s badge number, name, and agency.
- the names of any witnesses.
- If you are injured during the incident.
Once you feel safe, you can file a written complaint with the agency where the officer works.
By regulation, Atlanta Legal Aid and Georgia Legal Services are not able to represent or bail out protestors. However, there are organizations that can help.
Find resources and links to organizations at GeorgiaLegalAid.org
Learn more at Georgialegalaid.org