Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s controversial “anti-riot” bill into law on Monday, a measure that vastly increases law enforcement’s powers to crack down on civil unrest.
The bill, which passed mostly along partisan lines, has been criticized by Democrats and civil rights groups as unconstitutional for infringing on the First Amendment’s right to protest.
The law also creates a broad category for misdemeanor arrest during protests, and anyone charged under that provision will be denied bail until their first court appearance. DeSantis said he wanted that to prevent people from rejoining ongoing protests.
But opponents say the law would make it easier for law enforcement to charge organizers and anyone involved in a protest, even if they had not engaged in any violent activity.
The new law also protects Confederate monuments along with other memorials, statues and historic property.