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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Chaotic start to Trump presidency roils Florida

Demonstrators gather in front of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's office on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa to protest the recent actions of Donald Trump on Jan. 31. Protesters say they plan to gather at Rubio's office every Tuesday for the first 100 days of Trump's presidency.

Loren Elliott | Times)

Demonstrators gather in front of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's office on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa to protest the recent actions of Donald Trump on Jan. 31. Protesters say they plan to gather at Rubio's office every Tuesday for the first 100 days of Trump's presidency.

5

February

At first there were small flashes of discord, an unsurprising coda to a bitter election.

As Donald Trump was sworn in Jan. 20, a couple hundred people took to the streets of Miami. "Putin won it," read a sign as Back in the U.S.S.R. played. A few dozen protesters gathered in Tampa.

The following day, the crowds exploded. In Miami, 10,000 people showed up for a women's march. Twice as many assembled in St. Petersburg, the largest demonstration in city history. As rain fell in Tallahassee, 14,000 marched. Thousands more marched in Jacksonville, Sarasota and Orlando.

Days later, the unrest flared again as Trump ordered an immigration crackdown. People stormed county hall in Miami-Dade. They demanded college presidents speak up, and rushed to airports.

The first two weeks of Trump's presidency have been chaotic and divisive and the tumult is rolling across Florida. It's a sudden reversal for a state Trump won and where he maintains a broad base of support for his disruptive style.

For those affected by Trump's actions, however, it has been deeply personal, activists reanimated after a crushing defeat, their ranks swelled by people pulled into the political arena for the first time while others are skittish about speaking out.

"I'm censoring myself when I want to be screaming from the rooftops," said Bill Harting, 46, of Clearwater, whose wife is a green card holder.

The activism is notable, an array of political experts say, because of the intensity, something not seen since the 1960s.

Full story here.

[Last modified: Sunday, February 5, 2017 12:11pm]

    

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