Can Tampa Bay Handle 15,000 Noisy Protesters at the RNC?

From prayer rallies to a tent city, protest groups will converge on Tampa Bay for the Republican National Convention. Is their presence welcomed or too much?

All eyes will be on Tampa Bay when the city hosts the Republican National Convention from Aug. 27-30, with an Aug. 26 kickoff party in St. Petersburg.

The 40th Republican nominating convention will bring some of the biggest names in the GOP to the Tampa Bay area, from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Sen. John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

More than 15,000 protesters also will coverage on Tampa Bay. They will march, wave signs and rally. All will have one goal in mind: to grab the national spotlight for themselves and their causes. Some protersters even will try to get arrested if it will help them get attetion.

The right to gather and express dissent in fundamental to our democracy. But is the influx of 15,000 demonstators too much for such an important event? Is Tampa Bay ready for this kind of disruption?

Let us know in the comments below. Leave the name of your city, so we can repost the best comments in a followup article in your hometown Patch.

Jacque Mioff August 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Anyone know where we can donate soap for the occupiers?
Mark S. Hankins August 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Jacque, it's important that the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers don't see this diagram, or they'll join forces against the Flexians: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1011/An_Occupy_Wall_StreetTea_Party_Venn_diagram.html
Michael D. August 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Don't think either side brand of "truth" is what the founders had in mind, Claudia. The Republican party is just as full of lies as the Democracy party.
ramjet August 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
George - It's baffling, after all these years,that a journalist (especially one from Pinellas County)doesn't know that Tampa Bay is a body of water, not a city.
George Gould August 07, 2012 at 07:01 PM
It is interesting. Perhaps 3rd grade geography is not a prerequisite for journalism school. I still think the bay would be a good place for the visitors about to descend upon us.
Bulldog August 07, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave :)
RD August 07, 2012 at 07:31 PM
It's too late to be asking this question. Those that worked so hard to get the RNC here this month should have thought of that back when they were in the planning stages. It's not like this is the first political convention so there's plenty of history to learn from. I'm staying away from that whole area for the week and feel sorry for those who can't. I hope the convention attendees spend a whole lot of money here so it's worth it.
Pamela August 07, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Most of us will be glad when the RNC circus leaves .This fiasco is costing millions to protect the RNC.Will we be stuck with the tab for this event which most of us would have rather watched on the 11PM news.And they also brought iinto St Pete where most of the taxpayers look at is as a frivallis event for the 1% of the area.The rest of us have to put up with inconvenience and cost of protecting these clowns.
Mark S. Hankins August 08, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Ask yourself the question who funds the anarchists who descend on every high-level conference whether it is the G20 summit or the Republican convention? And what about the "black bloc" that does all the damage when the anarchists don't get out of hand on their own? Why is their footwear identical to that of the riot police and why do they all seem to wear some sort of recognition symbol like a yellow scarf as an armband? In Toronto, it turned out they *were* the police and there was a belated admission to that effect. The mission of the violent protesters and police provocateurs is the same (whether the former realize it or not): it is to keep decent, honest, hardworking folks from even considering showing up to protest. If one were able to look deeply into the funding of the anarchists, or the orders the police receive from higher up, one would find the same powerful and monied interests orchestrating what happens in the streets specifically so that no movement against the oligarchy can gain momentum. The people at the top have all read Orwell's 1984, and unlike the rest of us they regard it as an instruction manual...
JUSTIN NEMIA August 08, 2012 at 07:03 PM
i don't think we'll find it at your house.
L.H. Fries August 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I was marching for peace in Chicago during the convention in 1968. Now, in my 70's I will proudly protest the party warring on women, the greedy corporate brotherhood, and the oligarchs who will not rest until they control all the wealth and succeed in placing the middle class into slavery, while cutting their own taxes and stealing what little security we have in our "entitlements".
Daryl Dixon August 10, 2012 at 06:11 PM
youtube "Moonbat" and see what Fries is talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=139r6X1qyzY&feature=related Workers of the World Unite...right Fries?
Daryl Dixon August 10, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Wait a Second!...the Democratic National Convention is being held at the BANK OF AMERICA Stadium in Charlotte? What ever happend to being against those dirty money grubbing evil banks? I bet it will be all rainbows and unicorns in Charlotte! Are you heading to Charlotte after the RNC Fries to protest there too?
Cisco August 10, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Wait til you see the protestors at the democrat convention.
Lynda August 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Protesting at large political events in the United States has been outsourced to the "professionals" so some of the same people will surely be protesting in Charlotte, too. The innocent days of gathering with your friends to show what you stand for or what you stand against are over. Now we click on internet petitions or gather a million "likes." from the comfort of our homes. We don't get hot and we don't get exposed to pepper spray. We leave that messy kind of protest to other countries where unfortunately they use real bullets. The RNC convention in 2012 will (like the 2008 convention in St. Paul, MN) have its ugly moments on the streets, however, no one will likely be killed for daring to protest. There will be hopeless traffic jams, unending lawsuits and considerable security costs for the two host cities. Political conventions, like street protests, have outlived their usefulness.
Terry Bender August 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Which is why I'm heading back home in Indiana for the couple of weeks over the RNC - staying far away from the crowds, mess and general upheaval!
J Gray August 10, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Actually Thanks to BO you can be arrested for protesting . You have lost you first amendment right of free speach.
J Gray August 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM
H.R. 347, benignly titled the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/03/the_anti_protest_bill_signed_by_barack_obama_is_a_quiet_attack_on_free_speech_.html
L.H. Fries August 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Those who are convening in Charlotte are those who continue to fight for my rights and my entitlements, and if they raise my taxes so others can see a doctor, I will not protest. Why should I and other old people have health care, but young ones do not?
L.H. Fries August 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Yes, they will protest Obamacare, raising taxes on the rich when the rich pay less than we do, and welfare - have the baby, but once it's born, you're on your own! Bunch of hypocrites.
L.H. Fries August 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I am trying to do my part as an amateur. If we were in France or many other European countries, we would all be protesting in the streets. We have lost much in our fear of the government. In Europe, the government listens to the people when they protest. Our country was founded on protest and I want it to continue that way instead of turning into sheep and accepting the terrible inequities.
Paul Pratt August 11, 2012 at 07:31 AM
Why don't all of the protesting bodies pool their money and rent a large billboard. They can all glue their signs to the billboard and then go home. That way the city of Tampa won't have a big mess to clean up and won't have to supply free, or should I say " entitled", water to all of the protestors.
Lynda August 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Those of us who have FBI files from the 60's are surprised to know President Obama is to blame for the loss of any first amendment rights, much less being arrested for protesting. The unfortunately named "Patriot Act" hastily passed by a fearful Congress after 9/11 (during the second Bush administration) has led to the loss of rights we will never get back.
Susan Scully August 11, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Personally, I have yet to understand why there is the RNC and the DNC. We know who is running--Romney andPaul, Obama and Biden. Why spend so much money that could be used for, oh I don't know, bringing down the national debt, helping homeless, sending aid to other parts of the States, like Kansas, for water. Simple things like that. Instead the elephants and the donkeys are going to hear themselves talk, about the same things ad nauseum, and party. What a waste, what a shame! Both conventions are a HUGE waste of time and money. It's already a done deal, so why not just go with that?
T.R. Winn August 11, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Can Tampa Bay tolerate 15000 raucous Republicans for their pep rally? Can any one? And if yes why would any city want to Republican or Democrat. Revenue is a factor to consider but how about some place close to one of our State or Federal Prisons just in case it gets out of hand.
Chuck Stephens August 11, 2012 at 09:11 PM
And the trees were all kept equal by the hatchet, the axe, and saw.
Eileen August 12, 2012 at 05:18 AM
It will be interesting to see how enthusiastic the protesters are in our 90+ degree heat.
bert hastings August 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM
you stupid twit
Elizabeth Neily August 26, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I hope 150,000 or even 1.5 million show up to protest. STOP THE INSANITY!
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