Hungry and tired, protesters want more

Published On: Jul 29 2013 04:24:41 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 29 2013 04:43:36 PM EDT
Dream Defenders sit-in, Day 14
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

A protest at Florida's Capitol is entering its third week. The goal is to bring change to the state.

The group, ranging from children to those in their golden years, is overcoming obstacles, from challenges at the Capitol to life on a daily basis.

The struggle of sleeping on the hard marble floor and limited access to everyday supplies is making their goal of changing the "stand your ground," discrimination and zero tolerance laws even more appetizing.

The adversities the group faces in the Capitol is only a reflection of what they say they've experienced for their entire life.

"It's a constant struggle," protester Cynthia Gardner said. "This reminds me of some of the experiences I had in the past."

Over the weekend, the group faced its latest round of struggles. A hot environment in the Capitol, literally and figuratively.

"They were like, 'You know, you can leave and eat if you really want to,'" said protester Melanie Andrade, of Dream Defenders. "We were like, 'We could, but we're not leaving until a special session is called.'"

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the latest struggles are not a negative reflection of Capitol police. FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says rules have been outlined for the group since Day One.

"After business hours when the Capitol is closed, Capitol police will not let anyone come into the Capitol," she said.

Those who lasted the entire weekend at the Capitol say even though tempers ran high with the lack of access to food, they weren't backing down and are using it as fuel to their overall cause.

"They didn't realize we'd garner enough support to stay for the long haul," Andrade said.

FDLE says it will continue to do its job by the books, while the protesters continue to play by the rules on their road to change.

On Tuesday, the group kicks off "The People's Session" to examine the circumstances they say led to the death of Trayvon Martin.

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