On Friday, senior US officials warned Americans not to resort to violence following a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the constitutional right to abortion, prompting emotional backlash from both sides of the debate.
Opponents of abortion rights outside the Supreme Court in Washington celebrated Friday’s decision by chanting “Goodbye Rowe!” in commemoration of the court’s 5-4 decision to set aside Roe v. Wade, a case that established the right to abortion almost 50 years ago.
At the same time, abortion rights groups also gathered outside the court, chanting “My body, my choice” and carrying signs reading “Tip Row? Of course not!” and “Rise up for abortion rights.”
Despite the high spirits among both groups, the demonstrations appeared to be peaceful, and President Joe Biden urged all Americans to keep up the good work, both in Washington and across the country.
“No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable,” Biden said in an address to the nation, in which he also accused the Supreme Court of taking away a fundamental right and “literally putting America back 150 years.”
“We must oppose violence in any form, regardless of your rationale,” Biden added. “Keep all protests peaceful, peaceful, peaceful.”
Earlier, US Attorney General Merrick Garland also warned Americans against the use of violence in response to the court’s decision.
“Peaceful expression of views is protected by the First Amendment,” Garland said in a statement. – Violence and threats of violence – no. The Department of Justice will not tolerate such actions.”
U.S. officials and law enforcement have been preparing for weeks for the possible fallout from the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, which was first leaked in early May.
“We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to prepare for demonstrations related to the Supreme Court,” US Capitol Police, responsible for congressional and Capitol security, told VOA in an email Friday.
US Homeland Security officials also cited the decision as a key factor in an even more dangerous and volatile threat environment.
“People who are both pro and anti-abortion encourage violence in public forums, including against government, religious and reproductive healthcare workers and institutions, and against those who hold opposing ideologies,” the Department of Homeland Security warned. in his latest newsletter. released this month.
There were also concerns about the safety of nine Supreme Court judges. Last month, the Justice Department announced 24-hour security for all judges.
26-year-old California man Nicholas John Roske was arrested on June 8 outside the home of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Police said Roske had a gun, ammunition, a knife, and other items, and that he said he planned to kill himself and Cavanaugh. Roska was charged with attempted murder.