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Top FL democrats not giving up fight against abortion bills despite arrests

Tallahassee Police say 11 people refused to leave despite warning
Posted at 1:15 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-04 13:48:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It was an emotional Monday night for Beth Weinstein, one of the members of Occupy Tally. "These are my friends. These are women that we have been fighting to protect the rights of ourselves," Weinstein said.

The group took to the space outside Tallahassee City Hall Monday to protest Florida House Bill 7 and Senate Bill 300. Those are bills the group called a near total ban on abortion in Florida.

That protest got heated when Tallahassee Police said 11 people refused to leave the space outside city hall even though they had been asked to go several times.

TPD said 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.

The group that refused to leave city hall was arrested for trespass after a warning around 8 p.m. Monday. Among those taken to Leon County Detention Facility was Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried.

ABC 27's camera was rolling as she was released a little before midnight.

"I certainly did not wake up this morning and say I'm going to get arrested by the end of the day," Fried said after release. Both she and Florida State Sen. Minority Leader Lauren Book said they're not giving up.

"We're working to fight to protect the right to choose," Book said.

Book and Fried were released on their own recognizance.

TPD said they encourage individuals exercising their First Amendment right of peaceful assembly to do so in accordance with the law. Still, at least one member of the Citizens Police Review Board says he'll be taking the issue with how the protest was handled to city leaders.

"Words can't put how wrong this is. I think we've gotta move past this," Malik Gary of the Tallahassee Citizens Police Review Board said.

How exactly that will happen has yet to be seen.

"We're not going to forget this. This is not over," Weinstein said.