CNA Staff, Jun 12, 2020 / 10:00 am
The Justice Department (DOJ) praised a Maryland county council on Wednesday for protecting the First Amendment rights of protesters and said it now expects them to extend the same protections to religious gatherings.
In a June 10 letter to the Montgomery County Council, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division praised the county's permitting of public anti-racism protests in spite of its current restrictions on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. He added that the county should give religious gatherings the same recognition.
"Your support for peaceful assembly and speech follows the best of our nation's traditions," Dreiband told Montgomery County, which borders Washington, D.C.
Protesters took to the streets in recent weeks in the Washington suburbs of Germantown, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, and other parts of the county, despite public health orders against "social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people."