Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) joined lawmakers from the greater Tampa Bay region and across the state in support of demonstrations backing protests in Cuba, but cautioned that blocking streets is “not something we’re going to tolerate.”
Speaking during a news conference in Miami on Thursday to urge the White House to allow Florida to restore internet access to Cuba, DeSantis said the recent protests in Tampa and Miami were not a violation of a recently enacted state law against violent protests. Demonstrators in Tampa, Miami and Orlando took to the streets this week, blocking thoroughfares. In Tampa, the demonstrators also tried to gain access to Interstate 275 from the Dale Mabry Highway exit.
DeSantis said law enforcement “did the right thing” in clearing the demonstrators, who he said remained peaceful and were not in violation of the Combating Public Disorder Act (House Bill 1). DeSantis said blocking roads has “been illegal in Florida way before HB1.” Continuing he said “That’s just something that we can’t have.” DeSantis stated that “There’s nothing wrong with doing peaceful demonstrations, and HB1 had nothing to do with peaceful. They’re not violent. Those aren’t riots. They’re out there being peaceful and they’re making their voice heard, and we support them and their ability to do that.”
While DeSantis supports peaceful protests, he stressed the importance of not blocking roads. “We can’t have that,” DeSantis said. “It’s dangerous for you to be shutting down a thoroughfare. You’re also putting other people in jeopardy. You don’t know if an emergency vehicle needs to get somewhere and, obviously, it’s disrespectful to make people stand in traffic.” Last year, many Black Lives Matter protesters blocked highways, leading to multiple accidents and deaths. A number of groups, including the Dream Defenders and the NAACP, have already filed challenges to HB1.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FOX13 NEWS
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