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Elected officials, activists speak out against HB1, says it’s a violation of First Amendment

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:49 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Protesters were back at the state Capitol Thursday.

Activists and local elected leaders saying a measure known as the Anti-Riot Bill will silence voices.

WCTV spoke with Bill Proctor and he says HB1 infringes on people’s First Amendment right to protest.

He also calls it a direct reaction against the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.

this small crowd met at the state capitol earlier this morning to protest the proposed bill that would raise penalties for crimes committed during a riot.

Commissioner Proctor says the bill targets the voices of mainly black protesters.

“This community should not have intimidation, should not have a shut down by policies on the book, that would frighten the people and make them fearful to come and to address their own government, the state of Florida, the Leon County government, or the city government,” Proctor explained.

WCTV spoke with Trish Brown, a member of TCAC and a member of the Tally 19.

She says the bill will impact everyone, but will also marginalize black protesters even more.

“We need to be out here for as long as we can, however much we can, until they stop this. Because this bill is going to kill people, this bill is going to continue to oppress us. My thing is that I’m already fighting for freedom out here, my thing is that now I have to fight for my freedom of speech?”

Back on Jan. 8, just days after the U.S. Capitol riot, Governor DeSantis said, “The rioting and the disorder is wrong. We’re not going to tolerate it in Florida.”

WCTV has reached out to the Governor’s Office for comment on Thursday’s protest, but have not yet heard back.

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