[Photos] Social justice advocates gather at Orlando City Hall to protest Florida’s anti-riot law HB1
Representatives of various organizations promoting justice for marginalized peoples met at City Hall on Saturday to protest Florida's recently passed "anti-riot" law.
The law, which creates stricter penalties around rioting while leaving the line between riot and protest almost entirely up to the discretion of local police, has come under scrutiny from advocates for police reform and civil rights organizations alike. Once a riot has been declared, anyone in a gathering of more than three people can be charged with a felony for their participation. Gatherings of more than 25 can be considered aggravated riots, carrying additional penalties.
Passed amidst a wave of protest against police violence, the law also makes it more difficult for local governments to reduce funding to their police forces. It gives citizens the right to challenge such budgetary decisions individually. In addition, it encourages heavy-handed police response to protests by making it easier for residents to sue municipalities if they do not contain civil unrest.
The law was protested over the weekend by a coalition of advocacy orgs, who met in front of Orlando's City Hall. Black Lives Matter activists and representatives of the American Indian Movement gave speeches against the law and a memorial to black and brown people killed by the state was erected across from the building's steps.
| Photos by Dave Decker