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Fight Back Florida confronts Tea Party Governor Rick Scott

By Jared Hamil |
April 18, 2011
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Jacksonville, FL - Students and workers converged on an outdoor mall called The Landing, here, April 15 to confront Florida Governor Rick Scott at a Tea Party event. More than 50 people attended the rally organized by Fight Back Florida, a statewide labor-student coalition formed against Scott’s vicious attacks on working families, government employee unions and public education.

Workers and students began the protest in front of The Landing by waving signs and chanting “When working families are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” Two right-wing Tea Party members heckled the protestors, but the vast majority of cars that passed by waived, honked and cheered the protestor’s pro-labor, pro-education message.

When Rick Scott was scheduled to speak, the protesters marched on The Landing holding signs that read, “Fight Back Florida!” and “Stop the war on working families!” The Landing’s corporate developers tried unsuccessfully to shut down the protest, but a union worker from the National Association of Letter Carriers pointed out that the protest was on public property.

The Tea Party’s event began with a racist portrayal of President Barack Obama in a skit. Protesters booed the bigoted event and chanted, “Rick Scott, stop the hate! Not our city! Not our state!” Tea Party thugs tried to block protesters from waving signs. One Tea Party thug shoved Dustin Ponder, a Fight Back Florida organizer, to try and provoke a fight. Police restrained, but did not arrest the Tea Party member.

When Rick Scott arrived, protesters confronted him with thunderous chants of “Tax the rich!” and “Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Rick Scott has got to go!” The protesters were chanting so loud that Rick Scott left after just five minutes. As he quickly retreated, workers and students yelled, “You’re a crook!”

After the rally, Dave Schneider, a Fight Back Florida organizer, briefly spoke to the protesters. “These Tea Party thugs can try to silence our voices, but they can’t stop working people and students when we stand up and fight back!”