On Wednesday, September 18 a federal court blocked enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions of several South Dakota laws, including the recently-enacted “Riot Boosting” Act, that threaten activists who encourage or organize protests, particularly protests of the Keystone XL pipeline.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol wrote: “Imagine that if these riot boosting statutes were applied to the protests that took place in Birmingham, Alabama, what might be the result?"

A lawsuit spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union against South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and others alleges that the legislation chills protected speech.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of South Dakota on behalf of four organizations: the Sierra Club, NDN Collective, Dakota Rural Action, and the Indigenous Environmental Network; and two individuals: Nick Tilsen with NDN Collective and Dallas Goldtooth with Indigenous Environmental Network. All are currently protesting or planning to protest the Keystone XL pipeline and/or encouraging others to do so.

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