The Wave of GOP Anti-Protest Bills Will Criminalize Protesters—and Sabotage Police Reform, Too
(Mother Jones) In the wake of the widespread George Floyd protests last year, Republican lawmakers across the country flooded the zone with so-called anti-riot bills. Last month, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the draconian “Combating Public Disorder” measure that expands the definition of riot to mean a “violent public disturbance involving 3 or more people,” increases the penalty for participating in a riot, and gives police the discretion to decide what a riot is—and isn’t.
“The criminal aspects of this bill are already illegal,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said. “[It] protects no one, makes no one safer, and does nothing to make people’s lives better. It’s simply to appease the Governor’s delusion of widespread lawlessness.”
Despite being criticized for extremism, dozens of Republican-dominated states like Ohio and Arizona have similar measures succeeding in state legislatures and on their ways to become laws. “I think you’re going to see other states sort of picking up the ideas as well, so yeah, this is a real victory for him,” Florida State University Professor Carol Weissert told an NBC affiliate.
According to the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, there are 69 anti-protest bills pending across the nation. These proposals vary, but many of them expand the definition of rioting in such a way that it can potentially entrap peaceful protesters, while increasing penalties for unlawful assemblies, and offering civil protection for people who injure protesters like, say, individuals who ram their cars into demonstrators on the street.
This wave of extreme anti-protest bills signals a new era in the post-Trump Republican Party.
I put this in the fascist watch thread because this goes beyond mere law and order conservatism. At least it has that potential. What is fascism but a state in which force triumphs over the right to free speech and assembly?
Especially, in regards to protesting the deprivation of life and liberty through police force?
That is to say, life and liberty of ethnic or racial minorities.