I for one was troubled by the whole idea that you needed a permit to protest your government on public property. I believe that this is unconstitutional, nowhere does it say that you need permits to peacefully assemble. When the tea party rolled into town on Monday I thought that they of all groups would not get a permit. No, I was totally wrong. For all of complaining about government excesses and wanting to restore the constitution they are really all about law and order. The first question I always ask is would they be ok with the rule if a guy they don't like did it. Amazingly that becomes a different story. But, some are consistent and as a person told me all of the protestors breaking the law should be in jail. This person was all about maintaining civil society. They would probably do well in a dictatorship. The fact is that protest and the ability to protest is a key component to the country's founding as well as nearly any change that has taken place since. There is no question that opponents of health care reform succeeded in watering down what was eventually passed.
If you want to look at protests another way compare the reaction of the Walker administration to unarmed protesters with the debate on gun regulation. The right to assembly does not mention permits, regulation, control,... Whereas, the second amendment mentions a well regulated militia as being essential to defense as being the reason why gun possession shall not be infringed. Does that mean that everyone needs to be in a militia that is regulated? Then there is the argument that we no longer need militias since we have a large standing army. This is where the above people who got a permit say that we need weapons to fight the government with.
I believe that both amendments shouldn't be curtailed but unfortunately that is not what is happening and only a minority seem to care about the first amendment.