They’re coming for you next: As part of the annual pro-life March for Life demonstration in DC on January 20, 2023, volunteers running a food table were forced to move away from the Washington Monument because, as one park ranger told them, they were in a “First Amendment-free zone.”
The women were setting up a table to provide some fellow pro-life supporters with bagels and coffee when a park ranger told them they were in a “First Amendment-free zone” and had to move out of the granite plaza surrounding the famous obelisk. They relocated on the grass, inches next to the plaza, with the approval of the park ranger. Later, a police officer approached the ladies and told them they were allegedly “getting complaints” about their table being on the path. Police told them they had to leave, and the women complied.
These women had set up the same table at the same spot the year before, with no problems.
Though the granite plaza itself is considered a “restricted zone” where “Activities may only occur within these areas on specified dates to maintain the contemplative and respectful environment of the memorial,” these women were only running a craft service table, an activity that the park service only the year before did not consider a violation of this rule.
Furthermore, we know this was not the reason the ranger and police officer moved to remove them. By his own words, the ranger called this area a “First Amendment-free zone,” thus telling them that they were not allowed to express their opinions there and had to leave, even though the park website itself specifically contradicts this ranger, proudly stating that….
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