What kinds of protests, speech are protected under the first ame - KMOV.com

What kinds of protests, speech are protected under the first amendment?

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

When it comes to expressing your freedom of speech and expression, is there a limit to the first amendment's protections? 

Last week, President Donald Trump suggested that players should be fired if they kneel. How does this affect non-athletes? Well, a constitutional attorney said, unless you are a government employee, the rules that apply to professional athletes also apply to the private sector. 

Civil rights attorney Ted Wells said what is said by an employee at work is not protected speech. If a boss finds an employee's words or actions put the company in a bad light, they have the right to fire the employee. Even if those words or actions are done off company property. 

When it comes to the first amendment, the government's ability to sanction speech is limited. However, the first amendment does not apply to non-governmental business. 

Professional athletes run the risk of being fired should they protest the anthem, even in silence. 

But what happens if when the protest comes in the form of a march or gathering?

"Speaking on a matter of public concern on streets, sidewalks, public parks, the courthouse steps, that is unquestionably  protected by the first amendment.," Wells said. 

However, Wells said protesting in the streets has limitations. 

"The right to access to the streets is one thing," Wells said. "The right to impede traffic is a different thing." 

Well said there can also be limitations in protesting in the streets, such as requiring permits and giving expected turnout and time. This is so the government can maintain public order. 

Over the weekend, 22 people were arrested during protests conducted in the Galleria. Wells said malls open themselves to all-comers, but since the mall is on private property, protesters can be asked to leave or face arrests for trespassing. 

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