Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay area protests, tributes to mark Iraq war anniversary

Protesters will gather outside Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite’s office.

Protesters will gather outside Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite’s office.

The Iraq war reaches a milestone Wednesday and local activists in the Tampa Bay region will mark the five-year anniversary with a mix of protest and tribute.

A handful of events are planned — from Brooksville to St. Petersburg — as part of a broader day of action where tens of thousands of demonstrators across the nation will demand an end to the war and for fellow Americans to honor the fallen soldiers.

"We believe we should not be in Iraq to begin with," said Dan Tucker, a Pinellas County organizer with "We don't believe the politicians are doing enough to get us out of there."

The first event begins at 11 a.m. in downtown Brooksville outside the district office of U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville. It is organized by a diverse coalition of 25 area peace and political organizations, including the Florida Peace Action Network, the Tampa chapter of the Muslim American Society and the Pinellas County Democratic Party.

Organizers plan to place boots and children's shoes on the steps of the Historic Courthouse to symbolize the deaths of Americans and Iraqis.

The goal of the event — which is expected to attract 50 to 150 people — is to raise awareness about the deaths in Iraq that no longer dominate the news, said Mike Fox, one of the organizers.

"Getting out in the street and protesting is like voting in many countries except here," said Fox, a member of the Florida chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America. "This is first and foremost for participants to come together as a community."

The Brooksville event will mirror another demonstration by hundreds to be held later in the evening in downtown Tampa outside the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat.

It will be followed by a series of candlelight vigils organized by in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Indian Rocks Beach.

The vigils are part of hundreds scheduled around the country, Tucker said, in honor of those who have died in the war. Iraq war veterans and families of soldiers are expected to speak.

"This is to show respect for those who have given so much up," he said.

The events against the war are expected to also draw counterdemonstrations.

In Brooksville, an informal group of war supporters plans to stand across the street from the courthouse. The group is led by Dee Mills, the mother of Marine Sgt. Lea Mills, 21, who was killed in April 2006 when a roadside bomb exploded next to his Humvee in the Anbar province of Iraq.

"I don't know the intentions of the protesters and I certainly understand the people's rights to protest the war — my son died for that right — but I just do not want to see any negativity toward our troops," she said. "It's so undeserved."

For Mills, the day will mark an important moment, too. It's the first time she will demonstrate in support of the military after her son's death.

"I've gained enough strength now," she explained, "to understand that there is a bigger picture than my own grief."

John Frank can be reached at or (352) 754-6114.

>>Fast facts

Protests planned at several locations

Local demonstrations against the Iraq war, all Wednesday:


11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Outside U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's office

20 N Main St., Brooksville

Demonstration organized by a coalition of local organizations at


4 to 6 p.m.

Outside U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's office at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse

801 N Florida Ave., Tampa

Demonstration organized by a coalition of local organizations at


6 p.m.

Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse

801 N Florida Ave., Tampa

Candlelight vigil organized by

St. Petersburg

5 p.m.

Outside U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's office

360 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Candlelight vigil organized by

Indian Rocks Beach

6 p.m.

401 Second St., Indian Rocks Beach

Candlelight vigil organized by

Source: and

Tampa Bay area protests, tributes to mark Iraq war anniversary 03/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Coming to Netflix in July: 'Rogue One,' 'E.T.,' 'Castlevania' and more


    Just when I think Netflix has outdone itself with new releases and originals, it surprises me with another month of superb offerings coming to the streaming site.

    Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  2. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe


    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  3. Watch: Provocateur targets CNN producer with hidden camera video


    NEW YORK —A conservative provocateur posted a video Tuesday of a man identified as a CNN producer commenting on his network's coverage of President Donald Trump and connections to Russia.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Protesters demand Confederate statue be moved from old Hillsborough courthouse


    TAMPA – Politicians, clergy and community leaders demanded Tuesday that the Hillsborough County commission reverse course and remove a Confederate monument from the old county courthouse.

    (From left) Mike Reed, Kristen Perry and Dayna Lazarus hold protest signs Tuesday in front of a Confederate monument on the grounds of Hillsborough County's old courthouse. Protesters want the statue removed. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   Times]
  5. Man charged with threatening Florida lawmaker on Facebook


    From The Associated Press:

    MIAMI — A Florida man has been charged with threatening to kill a state legislator in a Facebook post. 

    This booking photo released by the Miami-Dade Police Department shows Steve St. Felix, who has been charged with threatening to kill Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in a Facebook post.