'Unmasking Antifa Act' could send masked protesters to prison for 15 years

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — A bill introduced in the House carries a potential 15-year prison sentence for those engaged with the “antifa” movement.

Under the bill, anyone “wearing a mask” or in disguise who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege” would face a fine or up to 15 years in prison, the Hill reported.
Protesters march outside of Alamo Square Park in San Francisco, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The bill, titled the “Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018,” was introduced last month by Rep. Dan Donovan, according to CNN. Patrick Ryan, a spokesman for Donovan, said the bill would add a section to federal civil rights statutes that would include a penalty for wearing a mask.

“My bill expands upon long-standing civil rights statutes to make it a crime to deprive someone of Constitutionally-guaranteed protections while masked or disguised,” Donovan told CNN in a statement. “Americans have the natural right to speak and protest freely; it is not a right to throw Molotov cocktails and beat people while hiding behind a mask.”

Aside from the title, the bill doesn’t explicitly mention antifa in the text. But critics said the measure unfairly targets antifa and could embolden far-right demonstrators.

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