BLM Questioning Enforcement of Florida’s Anti-Riot Law

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Black Lives Matter activists have been asking questions about Florida’s new anti-riot law as a result of the many anti-communist protests taking place across Florida.

The law enhances penalties for criminals committing acts of violence during a protest, and protestors could be charged with felonies if they block roadways. A driver may also be granted immunity if they drive through protestors blocking a road.

Two men have been arrested during an anti-communist protest under the new “anti-riot” law. They both are facing charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and taking part in an unlawful assembly blocking streets and sidewalks.

Critics are calling it a double-standard since the law was created as part of an effort to quell last summer’s riots.

However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says there is a stark difference between this week’s demonstrators and last year’s protests that, at times, turned violent.

“The people understand the difference between peaceably assembling, which is obviously, people’s constitutional right, and attacking other people or burning down buildings or dragging people out of a car,” DeSantis said alongside Cuban American leaders in Miami.

DeSantis continued on Twitter by saying we ought to back the Cuban people who are voicing their opposition to the communist regime.

“The people of Cuba are engaged in the noble cause of fighting against a communist dictatorship,” DeSantis said. “One of the most effective things we can do as a country to support the Cuban people is to get internet connectivity back on the island. Time is of the essence in Cuba.”

The law has experienced a litany of legal challenges since it was signed in April, and the ACLU of Florida filed a motion in federal court to block the law immediately.

Democratic lawmakers in Florida have also been critical of the “anti-riot” law. State Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-63) said the supposed different enforcement of the law is “hypocritical.”

“It’s clearly hypocritical because the First Amendment gives us the right to free speech and assembly. It’s content-neutral, it doesn’t matter what it is you’re protesting,” Driskell said. “To pretend that what’s happening now is different than Black Lives Matter protests is a fiction.”

DeSantis followed up by saying anti-communist demonstrators should not be blocking highways.

“We can’t have that, it’s dangerous for you to be shutting down a thoroughfare, you’re also putting other people in jeopardy,” DeSantis said yesterday. “You don’t know if an emergency vehicle needs to get somewhere. And then obviously it’s just disrespectful to make people stand in traffic.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Highway Protest” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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