Fourteen liberal activists were arrested on Wednesday night, May 3, after they stormed and occupied the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Florida Capitol.
The liberal activists flooded into DeSantis’ office after the Republican-controlled state legislature passed sweeping education bills that Democrats and liberals have decried as racist, homophobic and transphobic. (Related: New Florida law limits instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation indoctrination in public schools.)
The protesters were part of an organization known as the Dream Defenders, established after the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The protesters said they would occupy the office until DeSantis agreed to meet with the organization.
The several dozen protesters barged into DeSantis’ office, locked arms and either sang songs or sat on the carpet. The police issued a warning that they must vacate the area at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Most of the protesters left following the warning, except for the 14 who were arrested at around 7:45 p.m. by members of the Florida Capitol Police, the Florida Highway Patrol and in the presence of officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that the 14 protesters were arrested for misdemeanor trespass after the Capitol building had been closed to visitors. Those arrested could face up to a one-year ban from entering the Florida Capitol grounds.
“Once the building closes, unless you have an office in the Capitol, you’re not allowed to be there, said spokesperson Gretl Plessinger, who noted that the 14 protesters were booked into the Leon County Jail.
In a statement, Dream Defenders decried DeSantis’ refusal to meet with the Dream Defenders protesters.
“DeSantis likes to meet with his donors, the people who voted with him, his little pals, but he seems not to want to face the people who don’t actually like him,” said Naila Summers-Polite, co-executive director of the Dream Defenders. “If he won’t face us, he shouldn’t be governor.”
But what the Dream Defenders failed to include in their statement was that DeSantis was not at the Capitol at the time.
Dream Defenders said the storming and short-lived occupation of the Florida Capitol is part of a nationwide demonstration wave. The Dream Defenders in Florida used the opportunity to address a number of issues relevant to the state, including the so-called push for “an alternative” to the country that politicians like DeSantis are creating.
The main piece of legislation the organization is protesting against in Florida prevents students and teachers from being required to use the pronouns of a person if those pronouns don’t correspond to the person’s biological sex. Another bill the group is protesting against bans programs in colleges and universities that promote the LGBT agenda.
Both bills have sailed through the State Legislature and DeSantis is expected to sign them within the next week.
Other legislation of a similar nature is working its way through the legislature. This includes a ban on schools teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation to students in the eighth grade and below. Another bill would allow parents to challenge schools for teaching books that may be inappropriate for children, such as books that may have too much sexualized content.
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Watch this clip from “The Stew Peters Show” as host Stew Peters discusses the spreading of LGBT propaganda in Maine schools.
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