UN committee says Florida’s ‘anti-riot’ law ‘unduly restricts the right to peaceful assembly’

Activist Ben Frazier with Northside Coalition of Jacksonville was among delegation of Floridians who spoke to international panel about HB 1

FILE - The United Nation flag waves in the wind on the top of an UN building in Geneva, Switzerland Monday, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File ) (Markus Schreiber, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida law is getting international attention from a special United Nations committee aimed at combatting racial inequality around the world.

Earlier this month, News4JAX reported that local activist Ben Frazier with the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville was among a delegation of Floridians who spoke to the international panel about HB 1, which was branded as Florida’s “anti-riot” law.

The controversial measure, which was signed into law in 2021, strengthened penalties for crimes that happen during protests such as burglary, robbery, property damage and unlawful assembly. But critics say it’s meant to discourage and intimidate peaceful protesters.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination said the law “unduly restricts the right to peaceful assembly.”

The report also mentioned a host of other racial equality concerns in the United including voting rights, sexual and reproductive health, housing discrimination, and homelessness among many others.

Frazier issued the following statement:

“This is a victory for democracy and for commonsense! The United Nations just told Governor DeSantis that he’s moving in the wrong direction. The legislature and the governor need to U-Turn and stop violating our first amendment rights to protest and to peaceably assemble. The world just told the governor he should make a mid course correction. Will he listen? Probably not. Like most narcissistic politicians his decisions do not emanate from wisdom but instead from a vast reservoir of pride and ego. We still look forward to meeting with the governor to discuss issues concerning poor people and black Floridians.”

Read the full report here.

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Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.