Alabama protest bill approved over objections

House approves bill increasing penalties for rioters

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers have approved a bill to stiffen penalties for participating in riots and traffic-blocking demonstrations.

But Black lawmakers and advocacy groups sharply criticized the legislation Thursday, saying they fear it will be used to silence and jail demonstrators.

The GOP-dominated House of Representatives voted 74-25 for the bill that now moves to the Alabama Senate.

The bill’s sponsor said the measures are needed to crack down on violent behavior.

Advocacy groups and Black lawmakers have raised concerns about the vagueness of what could be considered a riot.

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