In democracies, demonstrating is a legitimate way for citizens to let their officials know how they feel about important topics and try to change policies or attitudes. Peaceful demonstrations are powerful to keep the checks and balances in democracies. As we have seen over the ages (going back to Roman times), once demonstrations turn into riots, democracies are shaken to the core. During a riot, the fine line between being an activist and a criminal is often crossed.
For law enforcement, restoring and keeping order is a challenge. It involves identifying the agitators, those actors who believe that violent means justify the cause, and those who join demonstrations (often in other cities) to create trouble. Law enforcement needs to have the tools to identify and separate the bad apples from the rest to protect the fundamental democratic right to demonstrate.
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