Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday, Sept. 21, that he will no longer tolerate violence in public demonstrations, and will impose harsh penalties against those who do not respect the new laws imposed just to quell the escalation of violence that the state has suffered since the BLM protests began, following the death of George Floyd.
The announcement was made at a press conference, according to the local Orlando Sentinel. He first clarified his position, and reported that he favors peaceful demonstrations but that on the contrary, he will not tolerate and will confront any violent action by protesters in any type of protest.
“Our right to peacefully assemble is one of our most cherished as Americans, but throughout the country we’ve seen that right being taken advantage of by professional agitators, bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem in our cities,” DeSantis said. “I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida.”
DeSantis proposed new legislation, stricter than the current one, regarding political demonstrations and vandalism. Although the bill was rejected by the opposition, it will go into the next session in March.
The measures included in the bill, for example, felony charges could result from impeding traffic during an unauthorized protest, the destruction of monuments, or any assembly that results in property damage or personal injury.
Assaulting security personnel during protests would also be included as a new felony, which would include minimum prison sentences of six months for anyone convicted of such an attack.
The law would categorize violent protests and looting as third degree felonies. Anyone arrested during protests would not be eligible for bail prior to their initial court hearing.
In addition, it was announced that any municipality that attempts to defund the police, as left groups and many Democrats have been claiming, will lose state funding.
Florida was one of many states that suffered organized violence during the last months of the protests and could become one of the targets in the network of protesters that brought together more than 80 anti-Trump groups, and is organizing under the name of Protect the Results, with the aim of mobilizing millions of Americans in case Donald Trump wins the election, denying his victory.
According to Breitbart, it is an alliance financed by the left-wing multimillionaire George Soros, which also receives donations from thousands of small- and medium-sized contributors who have the common goal of developing a single progressive movement in the United States.
With constant threats of violence, the package was well received by Republicans and more conservative sectors who value freedom, security, and respect for law and property.