Lawmakers prohibit protesting in the Capitol

Photo of Dream Defenders Malik Gary taking a stance for voiceless protestors
Photo Credits : Arriell Drayton

As of Feb. 14, 2023, the Department of Management services initiated the Florida

Administrative code. The code rules against no protesting inside or outside the Florida capitol. If
anyone is caught protesting within the jurisdiction of the Capitol they will face trespassing

This rule covers the entire radius of the Capitol complex, the restrictions of the area starts at
Gaines street and ends at Jefferson street.

As of March 1, this rule went into effect immediately. It was established a week before the 60-
day legislative session where protestors were planning to attend and advocate against bills they
were not in favor of.

Lawmakers suggested the need to draft this rule due to previous disturbances during the
session, interference with traffic and non peaceful protest.

In previous years, there have been unpeaceful protests, outburst during legislative sessions and
animosity directed towards law makers. This rule was created to enhance safety precautions
and to prevent protestors from

An example of this was shown in May of 2022 when legislators took action on the Parental
Rights education bill. Protestors shouted expletives towards the Desantis administration during
a session.

There are guidelines for protesting, lawmakers suggest that protestors ensure to not block
access to sidewalks or buildings, engaging in profanity, reciting false statements or causing a
dangerous disturbance.

Protestors feel that the rule will be utilized as a device to restrict their rights to protest and right
to freedom of speech. However, protestors like Jasen Louis, the president of the FSU Black
Student Union suggest ways to continue a peaceful protest to continue expressing their freedom
of speech.

“Continue to fight, email politicians somehow, someway utilize social media as avenue or tell
reporters how you feel this does not stop you from wanting to make a change,” said Louis

According to the Constitution of the United States of America, The first amendment provides
that congress makes no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free
exercise.It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly and the right to petition the
government for a redress of grievances.

Dream Defenders Distributor Organizer, Malik Gary, who coordinated the Stand for Freedom
protest, says no one should be fearful.for standing up for what’s right.

“Don’t be afraid to be arrested, it is a valuable part of history,” said Gary. “The Tallahassee
boycott was arrested with hot grits thrown on them, they continued to work to ensure everyone
had an equal opportunity”

The first legislative session started March 7 at the Florida Capitol and will continue for the next
60 days until the end of session. For more information regarding the upcoming legislative
sessions visit The Florida Senate website,