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Protesters face crowd at DeSantis rally on FGCU campus Sunday

FGCU DeSantis01.JPG
Kinfay Moroti
Special to WGCU
A supporter, right, of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis heckles a FGCU student on Sunday outside DeSantis' campaign rally at Alico Arena in Fort Myers. More than 30 FGCU students marched from the campus' Veterans Pavilion to Alico Arena in protest of DeSantis speaking at the rally. The protest was organized by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at FGCU, who oppose DeSantis' policies on education, LGBTQ and abortion.

A couple dozen protesters, many FGCU students, held signs and yelled slogans Sunday night at a campaign rally for Gov. Ron DeSantis at the university's Alico Arena.

Members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at FGCU said they were protesting against the governor's “Don’t Tread on Florida” tour, which made a stop at Alico Arena.

The group faced hundreds of supporters of the governor who packed the arena's parking areas shortly before the 6 p.m. rally started.

In a news release on the protest, the YDSA called for student and community solidarity against DeSantis using the university to boost his own image before the election.

The organization cited several reasons for the rally including what the organization termed as, "an all-out attack on working-class Floridians, censorship of public K-12 teachers and university staff and faculty, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill (HB 1557), The “Stop Woke Act” (HB 7), erasure of accurate history that includes the experience of LGBTQ people and people of color, removing the ability for some to make healthcare decisions about their own bodies, the Florida Board of Medicine's vote to ban gender-affirming healthcare for youth and the looming threat of a statewide complete abortion ban."

"Students at FGCU won’t stand for DeSantis using our town and school, which has been left vulnerable after Hurricane Ian, as a political pawn," an emailed statement from the organization said.

Several members of the crowd waiting to enter the arena taunted and exchanged words with the protestors. No incidents were reported.

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