Ron DeSantis signs bill making it illegal to protest outside a private home

Violators face 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500 if they ignore law enforcement’s orders

Stuti Mishra
Tuesday 17 May 2022 09:42
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Related: Kamala Harris speaks after Senate votes against abortion rights

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill aiming to ban protests in front of a private residence, violation of which will lead to jail time and fines.

The new legislation, signed on Monday, makes it a second-degree misdemeanour to protest in a manner that is aimed at intentionally harassing or disturbing someone in their home.

Violators face 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500. Protesters can only be arrested after ignoring law enforcement’s orders to disperse.

The governor said the new law will prevent protests in Florida like those waged by abortion rights activists in front of homes of US Supreme Court justices in Virginia. The law is scheduled to take effect from the first day of October 2022.

“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like, we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, is inappropriate,” Mr DeSantis said in a statement. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

Democrats have objected to the move, arguing that it’s a violation of first amendment rights.

The bill comes after the Senate passed a bill last that would expand protections to the immediate family members of Supreme Court justices as protestors in recent days have gathered at their homes amid the row over the preservation of abortion rights.

The demonstrations outside the Maryland and Virginia homes of the justices were sparked by the leak of a draft majority opinion earlier this month that indicated the high court may overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision, which legalised abortion in the US.

While the draft isn’t the final decision, which is expected in the coming weeks, the issue of abortion rights remains highly debated in the US.

Additional reporting by agencies

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