Charges Dropped on the Tampa 5, Students for a Democratic Society Protesters Walk Free

Statement, published on Fightback News, December 5, 2023

Fight Back New Service is circulating the following statement from the Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5.

The Tampa 5 are proud to announce a great victory: their misdemeanor and felony charges will be dropped! This victory was made possible by months of mobilizations of people across the state of Florida, and even across the entire country, in defense of the Tampa 5. It is because of the bravery of students and youth protesters coming out for diversity and for student protest, that these five members of Students for a Democratic Society protesters will not see a single day in prison.

They have just agreed to a misdemeanor intervention program that will lead to the dismissal of their charges upon the fulfillment of various conditions such as 24 hours of community service.

Since March 6th, students, unions, and community organizations have put on protests, panels, petitions, call-in dates, and speaking tour events in an effort to drop the charges on the Tampa 5. The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression embraced this as a campaign, along with national Students for a Democratic Society.Recently, the Tampa 5 finished a national speaking tour that took them from the West Coast to the East Coast. They visited around 30 cities and broadcasted their case to thousands of people and collected resolutions to drop the charges that have been mailed to the state attorney. They whipped up a nationwide condemnation of Ron DeSantis and similar copycat bills in states like Texas and Ohio. Students and youth are among those leading the charge to take down the Republican copycat efforts of Governor Ron DeSantis, the Tampa 5 prominent among them.

It is clear that the protests, call-ins, petitions, panels, and actions put on by students, faculty, union leaders, community members, civil liberties advocates, and elected officials, all struck fear into the heart of governor-appointed, unelected state attorney Susan Lopez.

The Tampa 5 were initially arrested because they stood up for the rights of students in Florida to keep diversity programs, ethnic studies, and more in their schools. This time, the student movement and countless others stood up for the Tampa 5. In defending the Tampa 5, they defended their right to protest in the state of Florida. Because of the power of the people, the Tampa 5 can walk free.

*Featured Image: Members of the Tampa 5 speaking outside the courthouse. | Fight Back! News/staff

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