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Tampa protesters claim partial victory, vow to continue struggle

By staff |
June 16, 2020
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Tampa demonstration demands dropping all charges against all protesters.
Tampa demonstration demands dropping all charges against all protesters. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tampa, FL - On Monday, June 15, State Attorney Andrew Warren announced he would be dropping criminal cases against 67 protesters arrested in downtown Tampa on June 2.

On the previous day, June 14, over 200 protesters gathered at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa and demanded State Attorney Warren drop the charges against protesters arrested at Justice for George Floyd rallies in recent weeks. The protest also joined with the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repressions call for a day of action against police crimes. The protest raised demands for community control of the police, defunding the police, and the arrests of police officers involved in other cases of police violence.

The Joe Chillura Courthouse Square sits across Pierce street from the Hillsborough County Courthouse that holds State Attorney Warren’s office. The protest was organized by Tampa Bay Community Action Committee, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, Tampa Bay Coalition for Cohabitation and Diversity, and the Rainbow Coalition.

The protesters started chanting, “Andrew Warren, drop the charges” and “No justice, no peace” and delivering speeches. After a few speeches the protest marched down Kennedy Boulevard to Lykes Gaslight Park while blocking traffic. Protesters kept up the chanting and speeches in front of the Tampa Police Department before marching up Madison Street to the steps of the courthouse where the rally continued.

“This event is important because it’s causing more people to be open to having difficult conversations about police brutality that have been put off for so long,” said Simone Brown from Tampa Bay Coalition for Cohabitation and Diversity.

“This was a great, successful event but there is still a long struggle ahead. We need justice for the over 200 protesters who have been given trumped-up charges,” said protester Greg Hampston.

The protest made its way across the street again to finish in Joe Chillura Courthouse Square.

Although State Attorney Warren dropped the charges on the 67 protesters arrested on June 2, there are still many more who’ve been charged on other nights of protest. Bill Aiman of the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC) commented, “While this is a great partial victory, there are still more protesters who have been unfairly charged. There’s not enough focus on the ways in which police escalated tensions with protesters. TBCAC and other community groups will continue to fight until all the charges are dropped and justice has been served.”

The protesters vowed to continue the struggle to end police violence and harassment against protesters.

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