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Utah panel demands “Drop the charges against Tampa 5!” and condemns campus repression

By staff

Participants in a panel against the repression of progressive speech on campus chant, "Protesting is not a crime!"  | Fight Back! News/staff

Salt Lake City, UT – On October 23, members of the Salt Lake City community filled a room on the University of Utah campus for a panel against the repression of progressive speech on campus. Chrisley Carpio of the Tampa 5 was the keynote presenter and was joined by MECHA at the University of Utah and Armed Queers SLC.

The Tampa 5 are five members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society who were arrested for protesting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s racist attacks on education in that state. They face felony charges from right-wing District Attorney Susan Lopez for the protest. MECHA and Armed Queers SLC joined the panel in solidarity because of the University of Utah’s attempt to shut down a joint event on LGBTQ peoples’ right to self-defense.

Carpio led the crowd in a chant of “Racist, sexist, anti-gay! Ron DeSantis go away!” She said, “We are not sorry, and we are not backing down. We are going to fight these unjust charges because the people of this country oppose Ron DeSantis’s racist, sexist, homophobic agenda!”

Gabriela Merida, the education secretary for MECHA, condemned the university’s attempted repression, saying, “We know this type of repression is not happening to any other org on campus. It is only because we have decided to speak out against the university’s complacency and complicity in the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community and Palestinian and Arab community in the world.”

Ermia Fanaeian of Armed Queers SLC agreed, saying, “The struggle against the repression that left movements face is very real, and growing all over the country. We must recognize that the forces who are holding political prisoners and Palestinian activists are also in charge of pacifying student groups on campus, such as the Tampa 5.”

Organizers from Utah Students for a Democratic Society facilitated questions and answers from the crowd, which raised over $300 for the Tampa 5’s defense fund.

#SaltLakeCityUT #PoliticalRepression #Tampa5 #StudentMovement #MECHA #ArmedQueersSLC