Do protests destabilize a nation?
Or does the First Amendment to the Constitution protect the right to peaceably assemble and “to petition the government for a redress of grievances” specifically because the Founding Fathers believed the opposite was true?
The question has gained some relevance as news reports reveal how Russian-linked Facebook accounts allegedly were behind the organizing and financing of various protests both during and after last year’s election. A Wall Street Journal report said sometimes these Russian influencers organized protests on both sides of a volatile issue, seemingly agnostic about the actual causes.
One example: Russians were believed to have been behind both a “blue lives matter” rally in Dallas after several officers there were shot, and a rally to protest a police shooting in Minneapolis.
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Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist of the Deseret News. He has nearly 40 years experience as a reporter, editor and editorial writer in Oklahoma, New York City, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. He also has been an adjunct journalism professor at Brigham Young and Weber State universities.