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Sen. Cruz Delivers Opening Remarks as Chair of ‘The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence’ Hearing

Gavels in hearing examining Antifa and other anti-American anarchists’ role in violence and riots across the country

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on The Constitution, today is chairing a hearing titled "The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence." This hearing will examine how groups like Antifa and other anti-American anarchists have hijacked peaceful protests to engage in political violence. Livestream of Sen. Cruz's hearing may be viewed here.

As Sen. Cruz said in his opening remarks:

"What began as legitimate protests against a vile act of abuse sadly were soon hijacked by opportunists and violent radicals. [...]The fact is, the people who took to the streets because their hearts cried out for justice have become overshadowed by rioters and looters and those who cynically exploit the protests for their own evil ends. And those rioters aren't concerned about racial justice. Indeed, they're willing to make a mockery of the peaceful protest to advance their violent objectives. Their actions are profoundly racist, the rioters as they destroy minority communities, minority businesses, and minority lives across the country."

Following his opening remarks, Sen. Cruz played a video to depict what is peaceful protest and what is not. Watch the video here and below.

WATCH: Americans Have a Right to Peaceably Protest, Not Engage in Violence & Anarchy

Watch Sen. Cruz's introductory remarks here. Excerpts of Sen. Cruz's introductory remarks are below.

"The First Amendment is first for a reason. It guarantees not only ‘the freedom of speech,' but ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble.' Peaceably matters a great deal in that protection. Without our First Amendment rights-rights that protect the countless ways in which people can peaceably express their social and political views-democracy wouldn't work.


"This shouldn't be complicated. Peaceful protests must be protected. Riots must be stopped. No one has the right to assault another person, to firebomb a building, to throw a Molotov cocktail into a police car. That's not exercising a constitutional right-that's terrorizing your fellow citizens.

"More and more we're seeing signs that a significant portion of this violence, of this rioting, is not random. It is not spontaneous. Rather, it is coordinated and inspired by leftist, anarchist groups like antifa-groups that will, without shame, exploit a national tragedy to attack American buildings, American homes, and American lives.


"This violence speaks for itself. But for good measure in graffiti on the county courthouse they wrote: ‘Until the police and ICE are abolished, we will burn this city down piece by piece.' They are telling is what their demands are. To shut down and abolish the police. This violence should be universally condemned.

"They are telling us what their demands are. To shut down and abolish the police. This violence should be universally condemned. All 100 senators ought to come together and say, ‘Don't murder your fellow citizens. Don't attack police officers. Protect each other's rights.'

"Instead of seeing leaders united, we're seeing too many local officials, mayors and governors, who have made a cynical decision that it's in their partisan interest to turn a blind eye to this violence. To turn a blind eye to the law enforcement officers being attacked on a nightly basis. And even worse than that, to demonize the police officers. To throw out terms like ‘storm troopers' and ‘gestapo' to describe federal law enforcement officers doing their jobs."

In the Senate, Sen. Cruz has led the charge to hold Antifa accountable for its violence and destruction. Sen. Cruz introduced a resolution designating Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization for their violence. Learn more about Sen. Cruz's efforts here.

WATCH: Antifa's Terrorist Assault on America

WATCH: We Will Defend America Against Violent Anarchists