APEC/Know Your Rights Questions of the Day

All this week, as we prepare for the APEC leaders’ meetings this weekend, we’ll be posting questions regarding your right to protest.  Be sure to check out our First Amendment Toolkit for more information. NOTE: we have also recently added sections to the online version of the Toolkit about protesting at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and other public universities, and some information about protesting on the neighbor islands!)

To start off, we have two important questions raised by the arrest of protesters in Honolulu on Saturday night:

  • Can I protest on a sidewalk overnight?

Generally, yes:  so long as the sidewalk is open to the general public, you can hold an overnight protest there.   Most City parks are closed overnight, so there may be some sidewalks inside the park that are considered part of the park.  However, if the sidewalks are along roadways, and they are usually open to pedestrians (even at night), then they are available for an overnight protest, too.  Note, however, that if a sidewalk isn’t open to the general public (because, for example, it’s inside the APEC secure zone), then it’s not open for First Amendment activities either.

  • If I’m protesting on a sidewalk, can police ask me for ID?

As a general rule, if you’re not driving, you don’t have to show I.D. or give your name unless there is “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in a crime.  (This applies to state/local law enforcement, like HPD and state sheriffs.  Federal officers may ask you for ID, but you can still refuse to show it to them unless you are under arrest.)  For minors, even if you are not driving, you must give your name & birth date if asked by police.  Therefore, if you’re on the sidewalk legally, police cannot ask you for ID.

If a police officer tells you otherwise, contact us. Want more info?  Check out our First Amendment Toolkit!