We look at a slew of anti-protest laws pending in Republican-led states, and some that have already passed, such as in Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a controversial measure known as the “anti-riot bill” that is widely viewed as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement and calls to “defund the police.” Under the new law, a public gathering of three or more people can be classified as a “riot,” and anyone who “willingly” participates in such a gathering can be charged with a third-degree felony. Many of the anti-protest bills pending in other states have the exact same language as the Florida plan. “These are really extreme laws,” says Nick Robinson, a senior legal adviser with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which has tracked 81 anti-protest bills introduced in 34 states so far this year. They “expand the definition of rioting” in order “to target protesters,” Robinson tells Democracy Now!
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