Janine Jackson interviewed Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the inauguration protests for the January 27, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.
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Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: “It is not a crime to be in proximity to other people who break the law in conjunction with First Amendment activities. It is not a crime to be reporting on protests going on, even if portions of those protests become violent.” (image: WTTG/WDCA)
January 31, 2017 | Janine Jackson: A spontaneously organized rally in opposition to Trump’s proposed travel ban for people from Muslim-majority countries packed Washington Square Park here in New York January 25, just days after millions took part in women’s marches around the country, those coming the day after thousands demonstrated at Trump’s inauguration. As this administration proceeds, more and more people are feeling driven to show resistance in some visible way, including taking part in street protests, which makes the treatment of protesters by law enforcement and the courts—always critical—a front-burner concern.
What should we learn, then, from the mass arrest of protesters and journalists at the inauguration, and the decision to bring felony riot charges against them? Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is an activist and attorney. She’s co-founder and executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: Thank for you having me.
Janine Jackson is the program director of FAIR, and the co-host and co-producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin—a weekly program of media criticism airing on more than 150 stations around the country.