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Florida Gov. DeSantis’ protest law was meant to prevent riots in the wake of BLM protests. Now it’s in the way of SOS Cuba demonstrations.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis’ protest law was meant to prevent riots in the wake of BLM protests. Now it’s in the way of SOS Cuba demonstrations.


“To faux that what’s happening now’s various than Murky Lives Topic protests is a fiction,” one lawmaker stated.

John Kennedy and Antonio Fins
 |  USA TODAY NETWORK-FLORIDA

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  • DeSantis says the demonstrations are distinct from those after the abolish of George Floyd by police.
  • Florida Murky lawmakers stated DeSantis’s contrasting response to the protests was hypocritical.
  • Law enforcement officials gave the affect alive to to steer distinct of straight addressing Florida’s tough new protest law.

TALLAHASSEE – Crowds in Florida cities rallying and blocking roadways in toughen of anti-executive protests in Cuba is seemingly to be putting Gov. Ron DeSantis at odds with a tough new law he championed following remaining twelve months’s Murky Lives Topic demonstrations.

Big crowds closed Miami’s Palmetto Expressway and a total bunch demonstrating blocked main streets this week in Orlando, Tampa and across Southwest Florida, leading to a handful of arrests, a minimum of two for battery on law enforcement officers.

DeSantis stated he supports the Florida protesters urging an finish to the dictatorship in Cuba. And he insists these demonstrations are distinct from those that adopted the death of George Floyd at the arms of Minneapolis police.

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“The of us designate the distinction between peaceably assembling, which is obviously, of us’s constitutional factual, and attacking other of us or burning down buildings or dragging of us out of a automobile,” DeSantis stated during a Tuesday roundtable with Cuban-American leaders in Miami.

“They’re noteworthy various eventualities,” he stated.

But a number of Florida Murky lawmakers stated the governor’s contrasting response to the demonstrations was hypocritical. Florida’s Cuban-American neighborhood has been a potent force for Republicans, while murky Floridians overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

“Remaining twelve months when there were Murky Lives Topic protesters and the protests were largely silent in Florida, and he’s governor of Florida, the understanding was there wanted to be this law to maintain protesters in line,” stated yelp Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa.

“It’s clearly hypocritical because of this of the First Modification gives us the factual to free speech and meeting. It’s issue material-fair, it doesn’t topic what it is you’re protesting,” Driskell stated. “To faux that what’s happening now’s various than Murky Lives Topic protests is a fiction.”

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Driskell and others stated they weren’t advocating for exhaust of the new law against the most standard demonstrators but instead argued that the governor’s response further clouded a steady already being challenged as unconstitutional in federal court docket by civil rights organizations.

Micah Kubic, govt director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, one of the groups suing over the law, stated “Floridians’ factual to protest may perchance perchance well perchance silent now not be enviornment to Gov. DeSantis’ wavering politics.”

Supporters call law “anti-stand up”

Florida’s new law (HB 1) was dubbed the “anti-stand up law” by supporters. It creates new crimes stemming from protests that law enforcement considers are geared toward “inciting a stand up,” and intensifies criminal and civil penalties for assorted activities.

The measure, officially titled the “Combating Public Dysfunction Act,” particularly makes it unlawful to “abate the free, helpful and ordinary exhaust of any public avenue, highway or highway,” making violators enviornment to $15 traffic citations. There are additionally penalties for mob intimidation and for unlawful meeting, involving three or extra of us involved in violent and disorderly behavior.

In Tampa, where crowds gathered Tuesday afternoon at Al Lopez Park and by evening blocked sides of Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Avenue, three of us were arrested by Tampa Police, including two males charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

The protesters at remaining closed-off a ramp from Interstate 275 at Mabry Highway by gathering in an intersection, while others blocked the northbound lane of Mabry by kneeling on a Cuban flag. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper suffered a broken ankle alongside with lacerations to his arms and face while assisting Tamp officers during an arrest, stated FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Later in the evening, northbound I-75 in North Castle Myers at Bayshore Avenue additionally was closed after demonstrators gathered in the heart lanes. Protests in the position additionally took put in Cape Coral, Castle Myers and Clewiston.

Miami’s Palmetto Expressway, which runs through Cuban-American communities in western Miami-Dade County additionally was closed amid demonstrations.

Original law kept away from

Law enforcement officials gave the affect alive to to steer distinct of straight addressing Florida’s tough new protest law.

“The Florida Highway Patrol supports silent demonstrations; on the other hand, when protesters block restricted gain entry to highways, they are now not most productive breaking the law but endangering the lives of demonstrators and the public at immense,” stated FHP Director Col. Gene Spaulding.

Snarl Rep. Bobby Dubose of Castle Lauderdale, the Florida Dwelling Democratic co-chief, stated he supports those protesting, but that the governor’s capacity “exact amplifies why this (anti-protest) law is pointless and what was driving it.”

“The governor made loads of noise about of us using a tool that’s been there in our history, when there’s injustice,” Dubose stated. “The governor sees it through two various lenses. There’s two Americas when he sees these those that peep relish me demonstrate, he requires this pointless law.”

Rolando Chang Barrero, with the Palm Seashore County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, stated blocking roads and highways is unhealthy, and shouldn’t occur.

But, he added, “Here’s a passionate 2nd. It feel it myself, but we prefer to be very respectful and considerate” to the public at immense.

Chang Barrero stated it took his 84-twelve months-dilapidated father four hours to force home Tuesday because of this of of traffic snarls resulting from the demonstrations in Miami-Dade. Instead of blocking roads, he stated he’s joining a non-partisan roundtable discussion Thursday to bring other alternate choices to the desk – and to maintain in mind a attainable march later in Washington, D.C.

“Here’s a Category 5 emergency in Cuba, and we all want to come together and aid every other,” he stated.

John Kennedy is a reporter in the USA TODAY Community’s Florida Capital Bureau. He may perchance perchance well perchance additionally be reached at jkennedy2@gannett.com, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport

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Florida Gov. DeSantis’ protest law was meant to prevent riots in the wake of BLM protests. Now it’s in the way of SOS Cuba demonstrations.