Florida passes ‘anti-riot’ bill as civil rights groups warn it will stifle dissent

Florida passes ‘anti-riot’ bill as civil rights groups warn it will stifle dissent

The Guardian

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The bill includes harsher punishments for protesters and would make it a second-degree felony to destroy historical memorials

Florida has approved a so-called “anti-riot” bill that gives harsher penalties to protesters, handing a victory to the state’s Republican governor and dealing a blow to civil rights groups who warn it will stifle dissent.

The bill, passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday, includes stiffer punishment for crimes committed during a riot or violent protest. It would allow authorities to hold arrested protesters until a first court appearance, and it would establish new felonies for organizing or participating in a violent demonstration.

The proposal would make it a second-degree felony to destroy or demolish a memorial, plaque, flag, painting, structure or other object that commemorates historical people or events. That would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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