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A police officer clears protesters off the sidewalk in front of the White House during a demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline on March 10, 2017. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News

By Joshua Axelrod

A new South Dakota law — written in consultation with the company that owns Keystone XL — could punish people for exercising their right to peaceful protest. Is it a harbinger of things to come?

America was born out of protest. Revolution and rebellion, bred in part by crackdowns on protests, affirmed that a protected right "peaceably to assemble" in support — or protest — of ideas affecting Americans' lives was crucial to our fledgling democracy's survival. And so, the very first amendment added to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution enshrined public protest as a right.

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