The Raleigh Police Department is under fire for a tweet that said that "protesting" falls under non-essential activities.

Approximately 100 ReopenNC protestors gathered in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday to show their disapproval for the state's stay-at-home order continuing past April 29. Both the State Capitol Police and the Raleigh Police Department were on-site to monitor the situation. One protestor was arrested.

Meanwhile, the Raleigh Police Department was tweeting live updates:


When someone asked what part of the governor's order was violated, the police department was quick to respond:

non-essential activity

"Protesting is a non-essential activity."

Well, that didn't go over too well:

And, of course, there were people on both sides of the issue:

The Raleigh Police Department responded to the criticism with an official statement:

The lines are starting to feel a bit blurred, are they not? 

There's a dangerous global pandemic. We've been advised that we shouldn't gather in groups so as to not unknowingly spread the virus. But as Americans, we have Constitutional rights that guarantee we can peaceably assemble and speak our minds. So if Americans don't agree with a government-issued order to stay at home (pandemic or no pandemic), does their right to assemble and express their disapproval supersede the mandate from the authorities? 

Or, do public health concerns outweigh the right to protest, at least temporarily? 

It's getting dicey, and there are multiple issues at play here. We'd love to hear your opinion in the comments!