Ron DeSantis hunts during press conference: “This governor is the enemy of the people”

A community activist is arrest at a Florida news conference hosted by Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday after he protested the state’s coronavirus and virus policies.

The confrontation began when DeSantis aides began asking attendees to give their press credentials at the Florida Department of Health before the governor entered the door. One attendee, Ben Frazier, the 71-year-old president of the Northside Union in Jacksonville, was asked to leave the room because he is not a journalist.

But Fraizer, who was there to challenge the state’s lack of COVID-19 precautions, stood firm, along with a group of like-minded citizens. “This is a public building, and we have no intention of moving,” he said. “We’re here to hold the governor accountable.”

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“That’s not the right way to do it,” one aide replied.

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“What’s the proper way, sir, to disobey our First Amendment rights?” Frazier asked. “Public expression, sir, is very important to our democracy. This governor has gone against our right to protest and peacefully assemble. That’s wrong.”

Frazier’s comments refer to Florida’s “anti-riot” bill signed back in April last year, which strengthens penalties related to participating in “riots.” Widespread critics have dismissed the measure as an attempt to silence free speech and peaceful protest.

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In the interview, Frazier points to a lawsuit filed by several states now aimed at challenging the constitutionality of the bill.

“This governor is the enemy of the people,” he speak. “We have the right to be here and we are not moving.”

Finally, deputies from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office handcuffed the community organizer and escorted him out of the building. Frazier, a black man, asked the officers why he was the only one arrested.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Frazier faces one count of trespassing, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.

When asked about the incident, a spokesman for DeSantis told The Tampa Bay Times said that Frazier had “the right to protest in public places – but not to break into a secure facility to disrupt a press conference and prevent information from being communicated to the public.”

The development comes amid a massive increase in COVID-19 cases across the Sunshine State. This week, DeSantis, who has vehemently opposed the mask and vaccine mandates, speak that Democrats’ COVID policies are motivated by a sense of “hysteria,” which defies the science of common-sense health precautions. Ron DeSantis hunts during press conference: “This governor is the enemy of the people”

Huynh Nguyen

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