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Judge blocks Florida law targeting protesters

A federal judge has struck down an “anti-riot” law championed by Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and passed by the Republican legislature, Huffington Post reported on Thursday, September 9, 2021 (read story here).

Rioting, arson, looting, and vandalism were already crimes in Florida. This law sought to cast a wider net. Civil liberties groups complained it would have turned every protester into a criminal, not just engaged in committing the violence.

That’s not really clear, but the judge had no trouble ruling the law is “vague and overbroad,” and potentially threatened the right of peaceful protest. The law also included a flag-burning provision, which the Supreme Court has previously ruled is unconstitutional.

Republicans have a long history of antipathy to protesters, and of trying to suppress dissent. Except, of course, when they want to threaten public officials’ lives, smash their way into public buildings, and try to overthrow our government.

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