(CNN)Antifa activists could be jailed for up to 15 years for wearing masks under a bill introduced by a US congressman.
If passed, would punish anyone wearing a mask or disguise who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates” someone else exercising a right guaranteed under the Constitution.
The title of the bill — “Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018” — makes it clear that Antifa activists are its intended target, but the bill’s text never explicitly mentions them.
The bill, which was introduced by Republican Rep. Dan Donovan of New York last month, has drawn widespread condemnation from critics who claim it unfairly targets Antifa activists, while it could embolden the far-right demonstrators Antifa protests against.
“This is another draconian measure to actually criminalize dissent in the United States,” said Scott Crow, a former Antifa organizer and author.
“Because the law, even if it doesn’t explicitly state ‘leftists who mask up,’ that’s who the largest potential target of the law is,” he said, “far more than white nationalists.”
The term “Antifa,” short for “anti-fascist,” is used to refer to a loose coalition of individuals with left-leaning political views that often fall .
The group has no figurehead or official governing body, but members — some of whom turn to radical or militant tactics to make their views known — generally oppose the inequality of wealth by corporations and discrimination against marginalized communities. They often wear black and obscure their faces while protesting.