white house historical association > president's park / citizen's soapbox : a history of protest at the white house
In the past few decades, there have been revisions in regulations and a change in the number of protesters allowed in Lafayette Park. The current maximum number within the park itself, at any one time, is 3,000, while 750 people can demonstrate on the White House sidewalk,* although these limitations may be waived. Additionally, regulations on signs affect those that choose to share a visual voice. Non-hand-carried signs are to be no larger than four feet square and must be attended by the demonstrator, although there is no limitation on hand-carried signs in Lafayette Park.  This is to allow tourists a view of the White House and allows a free flow for pedestrians making their way through the park.  Structures, packages and parcels cannot be placed on the sidewalk for security reasons.  There is a continuing effort to balance the beauty of the park, the safety of visitors, and the First Amendment rights of citizens.

Within these regulations, Lafayette Park is still a major destination for those who have grievances. Topics such as the Iraq War, abortion, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are some examples of themes expressed in the park. While large numbers of groups still seek to assemble in the park, many issues are represented by individual protestors. Concepcion Picciotto and William Thomas maintain a peace vigil. Citizens like Alan Shapiro, ‘Prophet John,’ and Zeus come out on a weekly basis to have their opinions expressed, no matter what they are at the moment. 

*Regulation 36 CFR 7.96(g)(5)

citizen's soapbox > open page
one > introduction
two > suffragists
three > truman assassination attempt
four > civil rights
five > anti-war protests, 60s-70s
six > nuclear disarmament
seven > pro-life & pro-choice
eight > the cause continue
nine > conclusion
audio map
president's park / citizen's soapbox walking tour map [pdf]
about the project