Activist groups speak out after USF police arrests protestors

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Chris Young / WMNF News, March 9 2023

On Monday, four demonstrators were arrested and charged by University of South Florida police while protesting against the school’s inaction in the midst of Gov. DeSantis’s push for change in state colleges.

The University of South Florida chapter of Students for a Democratic Society held a press conference denouncing USFPD and calling felony and misdemeanor charges against protestors to be dropped.

WMNF was on the scene March 6 when protesters gathered outside of  USF’s busy student center to demand that the university protects students from Governor DeSantis’s recent attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

However, when they marched to the building where the university president’s office is located and demanded a meeting with USF president Rhea Law, protesters said police turned violent.

“I did expect a peaceful sit-in to result in a police officer slamming her fist into my head over and over again. I did not expect to be pulled away from police with my arms tugged, ending in scratches and bruises. I didn’t expect there to be blood on my tote bag. I didn’t expect to see my friends on the floor.”

The four protestors charged on Monday gave final remarks at the press conference.

“Going to this protest, I’ve been an organizer since 2018. I’ve been arrested, I’ve been teargassed, I have been almost ran over by TPD, and this was the scariest moment of my life.” one demonstrator said.

The group called on the public to donate to Students for a Democratic Society to support.

WMNF has not received comment from USFPD.

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