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Politicians question masking amid massive rise in anti-Israel protests: ‘Significant risk to public safety’


Adam Sabes, Article

After several weeks of widespread anti-Israel protests across the country and on college campuses, which included extended occupations of campus areas, politicians are beginning to question whether masking has gone too far.

Axios notes that Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost sent a letter to the heads of public universities in the state, warning them that students who wear a face covering at protests could be subject to felony charges under a 1953 law that was passed to stop Ku Klux Klan demonstrations.

“In our society, there are few more significant career-wreckers than a felony charge,” Yost wrote, according to the Associated Press. “I write to you today to inform your student bodies of an Ohio law that, in the context of some behavior during the recent pro-Palestinian protests, could have that effect.”

In North Carolina, its senate passed a bill that would repeal a law that allowed people to wear masks in public during the coronavirus pandemic for health reasons.

[RELATED: Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project]

The bill also increases penalties for blocking roads, and increased penalties for crimes committed while masked.

New York Assemblyman Michael Reilly introduced legislation that would criminalize masking during a protest, rally, or other type of public assembly, according to

“While the right to peaceful assembly and free speech are core to our national values, the deceptive use of masks and other facial coverings pose a significant risk to public safety,” Reilly said. “If this proposal becomes law, it will hold individuals accountable for their actions and may even deter the kinds of disruptive and violent behavior we’ve witnessed unfold at our colleges and universities.”

[RELATED: Yale students call for ‘open intifada,’ say activists should ‘escalate disruption’ and ‘paralyze all aspects of normal life’]

Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project, told Axios that law enforcement has raised concerns that individuals should be easily identifiable in the event that protests turn violent.

Republished with permission from Campus Reform

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