TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two prominent Florida Democrats were among 11 demonstrators handcuffed and arrested Monday night while peacefully protesting the state's proposed six-week abortion ban.
Nikki Fried, chair of Florida's Democratic Party, and Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book were sitting in a circle with others outside City Hall in Tallahassee, singing "Lean on Me," when a police officer warned that they were trespassing and would be subject to arrest if they didn't leave.
They ignored the officer's warnings and were led away in handcuffs by police.
BREAKING: Tallahassee Police Department just arrested dozens of peaceful pro-choice protestors at City Hall outside of the Florida Capitol.— Florida Planned Parenthood Action (@PPactionFL) April 4, 2023
This includes Senator @LeaderBookFL and FDP Chair @NikkiFriedFL.
Abortion is health care. pic.twitter.com/4O78dozXbg
The Tallahassee Police Department said in a news release that the city had been working with organizers of the protest for more than a week, but because of "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."
Police said the group was allowed to peacefully protest on the property during business hours, but after multiple warnings throughout the day, "protestors acknowledged they understood that anyone refusing to leave the premises at sundown would be subject to arrest."
According to the news release, "the majority of the crowd left the property, while 11 people refused to leave despite numerous requests."
"They were subsequently arrested for trespass after warning," the release said.
The incident came on the same day that the Florida Senate passed a measure that would outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Tallahassee's City Hall is located across the street from the Florida Capitol building.
Fried, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in last year's election, was wearing a shirt that said, "Just f**king vote."