Protester Playbook could mean trouble for Tampa RNC | News
TAMPA, Florida -- Experts believe trying to dismiss a letter from Anonymous calling for causing as much trouble as possible during the Republican National Convention is a real bad idea.
The letter sent to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn should not be taken as an idle threat or ranting from just another so-called nut case.
The 10 News Investigators took a look at how protestors have acted at conventions in the past and what their playbook looks like for Tampa in August.
The letter is just one piece of the puzzle and it could spell trouble for all of Tampa Bay. There are many different groups who have been planning for months to protest and disrupt the RNC. While some may be peaceful, some of them are no doubt anarchists who are looking to do more than lodge a peaceful protest in the designated free speech zone.
Video from the 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis looks like something out of a warzone. That could be repeated here in August. In 2008, police arrested protestors who stepped outside the so-called clean zone.
"I think we need to eliminate the clean zone to begin with," said Reverend Bruce Wright, who is organizing Resist RNC. "But we are not going to be deterred from what we feel we need to do because they've created event zones and free speech zones and things of that nature."
That could spell trouble, because another part of the anarchist playbook, according one website, is a commitment to making the 2012 RNC in Tampa a truly catastrophic celebration of liberty and joy.
If you're thinking none of this will affect you because you don't live in Tampa, think again. On August 26, what is being billed as the "world's largest cocktail party" is being hosted at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and already the city is planning on spending close to $300,000 on security cameras to keep tabs on the protestors who will no doubt be there, along with 20,000 journalists and delegates coming to the party.
Boyd Huppert, who covered the 2008 convention for KARE television, says police there indiscriminately arrested more than 800 people. "Early in the evening it was a clash between police and protestors, but when they started making arrests it was a roundup at that point," said Huppert via satellite.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said the department will try to keep things in control. Those who went through the Twin Cities convention maintain the police drew a line in the sand, and when the protesters crossed it trouble broke out.