‘Free Speech Zones’ at BLM Cattle Roundup Put Controversial Areas in Spotlight

April 13, 2014

By  Sean Whaley at Las Vegas Review-Journal

When protesters arrived in Bunkerville last week to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s battle against the federal government, they came angry.

They were angry about how the Bureau of Land Management was treating Bundy and his family, whose cattle feeding on public land were being rounded up because of his refusal to pay grazing fees over a 20-year period.

But many of them seemed even more upset about what they saw as the trampling of their First Amendment right to free speech.

They’re not alone

Some First Amendent supporters say the “free speech zones” like the ones the BLM set up — and later dismantled after public outrage — are intended to stifle rather than encourage debate. The federal land agency said that all other areas in the 1,200-square-mile Gold Butte closure area were off-limits to people for stating their opinions...