Two Florida Democratic leaders – Democrat party chair Nikki Fried and Senator Lauren Book – were arrested Monday with a group of protesters outside city hall. The group was advocating for abortion access due to the proposed six-week ban on abortion that was passed in the Senate earlier in the day.
The arrests came after officers warned protesters that anyone who remained on city hall property after dark would be trespassing. WFSU reported that the protest had initially been planned for Kleman Plaza, then last week the city moved the group’s permit to City Hall before revoking their permit last Friday. In a statement the city says that decision was made after learning the group hoped to camp out overnight.
The TPD statement on the arrests is provided below:
The Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) is committed to enhancing the safety of everyone in Tallahassee. Today TPD assisted in ensuring a safe environment for demonstrators from across the state as they peacefully protested Senate Bill 300 in front of City Hall, located across from the Florida Capitol.
The City had been working with protest organizers for over a week; however, due to the size of the crowd they were expecting and their desire for overnight camping, they were informed last Friday of the City’s inability to accommodate them. Upon the group’s arrival to City Hall today, they were allowed to utilize the property during normal operating hours. After multiple warnings throughout the day, protestors acknowledged they understood that anyone refusing to leave the premises at sundown would be subject to arrest.
This evening, after sunset, the majority of the crowd left the property while 11 people refused to leave despite numerous requests. They were subsequently arrested for trespass after warning.
TPD encourages individuals exercising their First Amendment right of peaceful assembly to do so in accordance with the law. TPD supports non-disruptive demonstrations and works diligently to protect and uphold the rights of citizens every day.