R/I ~ AA
Civil rights groups have asked a federal judge to block enforcement of HB 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crackdown on street protests, as thousands of opponents of Cuba’s communist government have violated the law by jamming streets in Florida.
DeSantis proposed the legislation to the Florida Legislature following last summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which in some places but not so much in Florida sparked violence.
Now signed into law, the measure specifically sanctions demonstrators who block roadways and raises criminal penalties for participants in protests that get out of hand, even if they’re not to blame.
The Tampa Bay Times has reported the arrest of two men there under the law on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting law enforcement and taking part in an unlawful assembly that blocked streets or sidewalks.
But authorities largely haven’t enforced the law against the Cuban-Americans and immigrants who have thronged streets and expressways in Miami, Tampa, and elsewhere in solidarity with massive street protests in Cuba. Under the law, the driver of any vehicle who strikes someone demonstrating on a roadway is immune from civil damages.
DeSantis on Tuesday changed the subject, when asked about enforcement, to the goals of the demonstrators in Cuba.