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Report: Federal employees enroll in 'civil disobedience' workshops

The United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. (Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

In a potentially ominous sign for the administration, more than 100 federal employees have enrolled in a workshop to learn more about workers' rights and civil disobedience under President Donald Trump.

According to the Washington Post, federal workers are taking to anonymous social media accounts and support groups in order to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration's policies. At least 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend to learn more about their rights from experts.

A Justice Department employee who works in the division that gives grants to nonprofits fighting sex crimes and domestic violence told the Washington Post that the office plans to slow down its work as well as file complaints with the inspector general's office should they be asked to provide grants outside of the office's mission.

"You're going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage," the employee said. "People here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable," including through internal complaints and leaks to reporters.

Some federal employees already showed signs of resistance after the Trump administration implemented a gag order — which has been lifted — that restricted certain agencies from providing information to reporters or posting about the agencies on social media. This order included the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yet the Twitter account for Badlands National Park defied the order and released a series of tweets last week warning about climate change. The tweets were eventually deleted from the account.

And when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to defend Trump's immigration orders and ordered others in the Justice Department to do the same, she was fired.

Former labor secretary Thomas Perez told the Washington Post that he is helping to mobilize grassroots opposition to Trump's administration.

"We're mindful of our ethical responsibilities," said Perez, who also led the Justice Department's civil rights division under former President Barack Obama. "We're also mindful that we're in an existential crisis."

 

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