Organizers say 5,000-person march set for Republican National Convention’s first day

August 23, 2012

By Richard Danielson, Tampa Bay Times

TAMPA — An alliance of more than 60 labor, peace, student, immigrant rights, gay and lesbian and other groups says it’s ready for a 5,000-person march on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

“There will be nothing that will stop us from marching in the streets to demand good jobs, health care, affordable education, equality and peace and to oppose the party of legitimate rape,” said Corey Uhl of the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.

The Coalition to March on the RNC plans to meet at 10 a.m. Monday at Perry Harvey Park. It is expected to hear from more than 40 speakers before marching around noon south toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Protesters are expected to come on buses from as far away as New York, Minnesota, Illinois and the state of Washington, organizers say. The crowd could include more than 700 college students. A member of Occupy Wall Street is expected to arrive with three busloads of demonstrators.

Organizers say the march will be peaceful and contend that any trouble is likely to be started by police.

Asked whether the march will try to prevent anyone from, for example, breaking windows or throwing rocks, march leader Jared Hamil said, “If they break the law, well, it’s the law. Whatever the law says.”

But Hamil declined to criticize groups that might not follow organizers’ plans for a peaceful march with a permit from the city.

“I’m not here to say that anything is a problem,” he said. That’s because the coalition has adopted a brief set of guidelines, “The Tampa Bay Principles,” that emphasize respect “for the diversity of tactics” and a commitment to keeping criticisms of other activists internal to the movement.

“If people choose to do a different type of tactic, we ask that they separate (themselves) by time and space,” Hamil said. “What we’re doing on Aug. 27 is a permitted peaceful march, and whatever other people decide to do will be done in a different place at a different time.”

Fences going up

Asked where the Secret Service’s secure perimeter will go, RNC organizers and law enforcement have consistently said, “You’ll know it when you see it.”

We’ve seen it.

The 8-foot-tall panels of the perimeter are now going up along Brorein Street, which will be as far south as a pedestrian can get without RNC credentials.

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