Denver Police Commander Tony Lopez warned people about exercising their free speech rights without a permit at the Denver International Airport on Jan. 27 (video below).
According to Denverite, about 200 people protested against President Donald Trump's executive order that prevents refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Lopez warned people at the airport: "Stop doing anything that could be construed as free speech without a permit."
In another video, Lopez warned protesters about carrying signs: "In legal advice from the city attorney, what's being displayed is in violation of rules and regulations ... Put all the signs away that have anything to do with First Amendment expression, political message..."
An unidentified person asked Lopez, "I cannot carry the Constitution without a permit?"
"Correct, per the airport rules and regulations," Lopez replied.
Denverite notes that some protesters had signs that stated the First Amendment, while others had signs that said: "I am _[insert identity here]_, and I come in peace."
A Syrian mother with a baby and an Iranian couple were briefly detained at the airport, where about 20 immigration lawyers were on hand to help travelers.
Senior public information officer Heath Montgomery told Denverite via email that people need a permit to protest at the airport, which is "happy to talk to any of the organizers about those legal requirements."
On Jan. 28, a federal judge blocked Trump's order with an injunction that does not allow for deportation.
Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates told the Justice Department in a letter on Jan. 30 not to defend Trump’s order, notes The New York Times:
I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful...
For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” she wrote.
Later that evening, Trump fired Yates, according to a White House press release that was tweeted by Jon Passantino of BuzzFeed News. In the same news release, the Trump White House claimed that Yates was "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration."