August 9: National Day of Protest to Drop the Charges on Tampa 5!
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following call from the Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5.
The Tampa 5 – Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio – are the five Students for a Democratic Society protesters at the University of South Florida who were attacked by campus police and are now facing five to ten years in prison for protesting Governor Ron DeSantis' attacks on diversity programs and all of higher education.
On July 12, 2023, the Tampa 5 had their second court appearance. At this pretrial hearing, they learned that a trial date will be set by the judge on August 9, at their next court appearance.
The Tampa 5 are still in the middle of the process of discovery, which means that they are obtaining evidence from the prosecution that is meant to convict them. They have said publicly that all the security camera footage they have seen so far absolves them, and they are eager to not only receive more of this evidence but also to share it with the world. The Tampa 5 and their supporters demand full transparency and USF's full cooperation with discovery, to which all of the defendants are entitled.
In spite of this, the charges have not yet been dropped. The case of the five SDS protesters is hurtling towards a trial. So, they need all of their supporters and all parties interested in the right to protest DeSantis to stay out in the streets!
On August 9, the Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5 is calling on all member groups to declare a National Day of Protest! On July 12, we saw at least 15 cities pour out into the streets to say, “Drop the charges!”
We need to be out again on August 9 in even greater numbers. We need to demand that the DeSantis-appointed, unelected State Attorney Susan Lopez and Assistant Prosecutor Justin Diaz drop the charges.
We need to win this case once and for all, and protect the right of the student movement – and all social movements in the United States – to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and to protest.
All Out for July August 9 to Defend the Tampa 5!
State Attorney Susy Lopez, Prosecutor Justin Diaz, Drop the Charges!
Save Diversity in Higher Education!
Protesting DeSantis is Not a Crime!