Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Protesters rally for middle class, women's rights in Tampa before RNC

TAMPA — Police patrolled on horseback, bicycle and foot. An ice sculpture formed the words "Middle Class." Some folks were dressed in suits depicting a female body part. Dogs described as Democrats by their owners sniffed suspiciously at reporters.

Protest Nation descended Sunday on Tampa and gave free speech a vigorous workout.

The city survived.

The first significant day of protests for the Republican National Convention produced few serious problems under threatening skies and the watchful gaze of hundreds of law enforcement officers.

Tropical Storm Isaac may have helped dampen crowds and tempers as much as the overwhelming police presence.

Earlier in the day, up to 300 protesters marched from Lykes Gaslight Park to the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Some protesters played drums as the crowd chanted, "We are the 99 percent."

Dmitry Marin was among the protesters. He touted a 6-foot silver spoon with Mitt Romney's name on it.

"We are here to express our disagreement," Marin said. "We believe in … an economy that serves all, not just a few."

Later Sunday, members of the San Francisco women's rights group Code Pink stood outside a GOP event at the Tampa Theater dressed in full-body vagina costumes.

They were protesting the Republican stance on abortion and universal health care.

"We are in opposition to the right-wing agenda that wages war on women's bodies," said organizer and Code Pink co-founder Rae Abileah, 29.

Inside the event organized by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, Newt Gingrich and Pam Bondi said the country was headed in the wrong direction.

Unbeknownst to organizers, protesters infiltrated the event.

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, accused by Democrats of being a union buster, took the stage. A handful of protesters in the audience stood and repeatedly yelled, "Walker hates workers!"

Republicans answered with cries of "USA, USA!"

Police herded the hecklers, representing Occupy Tampa and Occupy Chicago, out a back door and issued trespass warnings.

Back at Lykes Gaslight Park, man's best friend figured in the political theater.

A group called Dogs Against Romney held a protest attended by fewer than two dozen people. They wanted to draw attention to a 1983 Romney family vacation when he put the family's Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate on top of the family station wagon for a 12-hour drive.

Protesters told reporters that any man who could put a dog in a crate latched atop a car doesn't deserve to be president. How the 10 dogs brought to the protest felt was harder to judge.

Some dogs wistfully eyed eight horses and their mounted officers at the other end of the park.

Kim Swygert of Tampa brought her 11-month-old Great Dane, Dora, to the event.

"Dora rides inside, baby," Swygert said. "She's not luggage. She's my baby."

One onlooker, Barbara Seidenberg of Orlando, stewed. She later said she couldn't stand the hypocrisy.

Hadn't Obama said in his book Dreams from My Father that he had tasted dog meat as a boy living in Indonesia?

"Obama … ate dogs," Seidenberg yelled out to the group. "What Mitt Romney did, his dog liked. And it was safe."

"I don't have time for stupid people," Swygert said.

Nobody mentioned that Obama also had acknowledged tasting snake meat and roasted grasshopper in Indonesia.

Perhaps that is a debate for another day.

Times staff writers Elizabeth Behrman, Laura C. Morel and Leonora LaPeter Anton contributed to this report.

At Lykes Gaslight Park in Tampa, Jessica Muniz of Washington, center, calls for a hike in the minimum wage at a rally organized by the Service Employees International Union on Sunday.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

At Lykes Gaslight Park in Tampa, Jessica Muniz of Washington, center, calls for a hike in the minimum wage at a rally organized by the Service Employees International Union on Sunday.

Protesters rally for middle class, women's rights in Tampa before RNC 08/26/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  2. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  4. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  5. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling

    College

    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]