Florida passes anti-riot bill that gives immunity to drivers who run over protestors
The new law gives civil immunity to people who run over rioters who are blocking roads
The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a new bill into law on Monday that will crack down on violent protests and protect law enforcement officials, according to Business Insider.
Under the new piece of legislation, people who run down rioters that are blocking roads will not be held accountable.
The new law also prohibits suspected rioters from bailing out of prison until they have appeared in court for the first time.
There will also be bigger penalties for rioters who attack law-enforcement representatives during violent protests.
Last week, the new bill was narrowly passed by Florida's Senate with a 23-17 split in favour of the new law.
There has been backlash from campaigners, who believe that the new law restricts the right to free speech.
Before signing the bill into law, DeSantis said in a press conference: "I think it's really remarkable if you look at the breadth of this particular piece of legislation. It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country. There's just nothing even close."
Desantis took to Twitter yesterday to share his public signing of the controversial bill into law.
He said: "I proudly signed HB 1 into law, which makes clear that rioting and violence have absolutely no place in Florida and provides protections for the brave men and women who keep our communities safe."
Today, surrounded by our state’s law enforcement community, I proudly signed HB 1 into law, which makes clear that rioting and violence have absolutely no place in Florida and provides protections for the brave men and women who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ULs6cx8xzy
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 19, 2021
Despite the Governor's claim on Twitter that the new legislation is "for the good of the state and for those we serve", campaigners have argued that it is a way of restricting the right to free speech.
Some people are horrified by the new law in Florida and have taken to social media to share their views on the piece of legislation.
One Twitter user was outraged that protestors will face harsher laws and supports the right to protest.
Florida @GovRonDeSantis will sign an "anti-riot" bill into law.
Violent protesters in the state will now face HARSHER criminal penalties.
Protesting is a right. Looting is not.
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) April 16, 2021
Another citizen who opposed the new law said on Twitter that the bill would "punish dissent and stifle our freedom to protest."
Yesterday afternoon HB1 passed the Florida Senate, let’s be very clear on what HB1 is. It’s not an “Anti-riot” bill, as Ron Desantis would like to put it, its an anti-1st Amendment, anti-American bill thats purpose is to punish dissent and stifle our freedom to protest. https://t.co/DWSwOC36pd
— William Sanchez for US Senate, Florida (@SanchezforSen) April 16, 2021