You call that a protest?
About 5,000 demonstrators were expected.
But by midmorning, as Tampa felt some minor effects from Tropical Storm Isaac, the number of protesters out at Perry Harvey, Sr. Park didn't reach 500. There were as many journalists as there were protesters.
"We all know the weather has affected the turnout of this march," said organizer Mick Kelly. "We have a turnout that's a little bit lower, okay, a lot lower, than we were expecting."
The city's conclusion: "The March on the RNC ended successfully." The weather was crummy. Fine. It's good there wasn't some massive, violent fracas, but how committed are people to the cause if something less than a tropical storm scared so many of them away? In some sense it's kind of disappointing. "They've militarized Tampa. The chilling effect has succeeded," Cara Jennings, a voter outreach organizer from Palm Beach County, told the AP. On my walk this afternoon from the Times' office in Tampa down to the convention center, I did see a large number of law enforcers, many of them looking like loitering, khaki-clad Ghostbusters LARPers -- but I don't know. I don't think that was the issue. One person was arrested. He didn't want to take off his bandana. Meanwhile, last night over in St. Pete, cops arrested two people, but they weren't protesters -- just a knucklehead in a pickup and a disorderly layabout.