(New York, NY) — Reports have emerged that federal authorities have required detained protesters in Portland to commit to not attending further protests as a condition for release, and that federal officers have shot at and maced reporters and legal observers covering protests. PEN America’s director of U.S. free expression programs Nora Benavidez released the following statement in response:

“Forcing First Amendment-abiding protesters to sign away their right to demonstrate to be released. Law enforcement using live ammunition against reporters and legal observers. These are gross violations of the First Amendment. Federal agents are not above the rule of law, and certainly not above the Constitution. The actions unfolding in Portland are aimed not only at silencing dissent, but also silencing the reporters and journalists working to reveal what’s happening on the ground. This has to stop. Freedom predicated on silence isn’t freedom at all.”