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Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a new bill into law that will prevent people who run down protesters from being held accountable and crack down on the definition of a protest.
The alarming legislation, made a reality by Florida’s DeSantis, will also grant extra protection to police in what’s being dubbed an ‘anti-riot’ bill but appears to include a number of amendments that will crack down on the rights of protesters and increase penalties for civil unrest.
‘I think it’s really remarkable if you look at the breadth of this particular piece of legislation,’ DeSantis proudly revealed in a press conference prior to signing the controversial bill. ‘It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country. There’s just nothing even close.’
It was barely passed in the Florida Senate last week with a 23-17 split in favour of it. One Republican opposed, along with the Democrat contingent.
The law intends to define a ‘riot’ as three people or more ‘acting with the common intent to assist each other in violent and disorderly conduct’, which includes injury to another person, damage to property, or danger of injury/damage, according to Business Insider.
Perhaps the most disturbing inclusion is the a civil immunity given to anyone who runs over a protester if they are in or blocking the road. After Heather Heyer was ran over and killed by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, this is seen as an irresponsible get out of jail free card – quite literally.
It will also deny anyone arrested for ‘rioting’ the right to bail, meaning they will be forced to stay in jail until their first court hearing and increase punishment for assaulting police officers while engaging in said ‘riot’.
Local governments will also be held accountable and punished if they’re seen to be preventing the termination of a ‘riot’, as well an ability to file objections to funding cuts, which feeds into his anti-defund the police stance.
Those who oppose the bill claim it’s simply a way to prevent the freedom to protest and voice concern over social injustice.
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