Regardless of whether we agree with protesters demonstrating opposition to the Trump agenda, all Americans can agree with the fundamental right to assemble and freely express dissent about government. In a number of countries around the world, protesters or anyone opposing governmental leaders are arrested, jailed and even killed for peacefully expressing opinions against the government.
During 2011 protests in Uganda, police fired live ammunition in crowded areas and threw tear gas at demonstrators and into houses, leaving two people killed and 120 injured. In 2013, Ugandan police arrested 28 individuals who were handing out materials intended to raise awareness of corruption in their government. Ugandans' freedom of expression was also diminished beginning on the country's election day in 2016, when all social media sites were blocked for five days.
China's restrictions on speech are also well documented. The Chinese government blocks any online information that might be deemed politically unacceptable. Many U.S. sites such as Google, Twitter and the New York Times are all blocked. Additionally, in 2015, the government restricted access to VPNs — services used to access and unblock foreign sites.
As Americans, we should all be appalled by these foreign governments' restrictions on the basic human right to free speech and assembly. We need to support international organizations that advocate for human rights, and we should urge our national leaders to pressure all nations to respect human rights.
Owen Hayes, Bloomington