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Coalition To March On The RNC demands permits, says no to ‘Clean Zone’

By Tom Burke |
April 9, 2012
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Tampa, FL - The Coalition To March On The RNC showed up in force at the Tampa City Council April 5, to demand permits and oppose Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s ‘Clean Zone.’ Many spoke in opposition to the mayor’s attempts to repress protests. They included Coalition representatives Dave Schneider of Fight Back Florida - a multi-city group that demands jobs, income and public spending - and Corey Uhl of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Members of Occupy Tampa and other community members spoke too. Protesters held signs outside reading, “No to the Clean Zone. Give us our permits!” and “Good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality and peace!” and “No to the Republican agenda!”

One speech stood out at the Tampa City Council, “Hi my name is Jared Hamil and I'm with the Coalition to March on the RNC. We are the Coalition representing labor unions, low-income people, students and anti-war groups all over the United States, including the participators and organizers of the 2008 Coalition to March on the RNC in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In January we filed for a permit requesting to march within sight and sound of the convention. Since then the city has dragged its feet and frankly met us with hostility when it comes to the idea of protesting the RNC.

“When Mayor Buckhorn released his ‘Clean Zone’ ordinance, it directly opposed any sort of protest happening whatsoever. Purely by its name, it insults us by calling us ‘dirty.’ As an ordinance it determines where protests can be and for how long, and with a one hour limit. We in the Coalition to March on the RNC say this suppresses protest and our right to speak. We have the right to protest within sight and sound of the convention and have our voice heard. The city was the one who decided to have the Convention here, and with that comes massive protests. People are tired of the wars and attacks spearhead by the Republican agenda. We say, no to the Republicans! We demand good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality and peace! With that, we demand that the Tampa City Council not adopt the plan.

“We have the right to protest within sight and sound of the Convention, and we will not be caged and treated like animals.”

The push for permits at the April 5 City Council meeting came on the heels of the Coalition’s national Call-in Day that forced the Tampa mayor to put all his calls to voicemail due to being overwhelmed by protest supporters.

The Coalition To March On The RNC (www.MarchontheRNC.com) is planning another Tampa press conference on April 10 at 4:00 p.m. at Tampa City Hall, 315 East Kennedy Boulevard, and a rally three blocks away at 7:00 p.m. at Joe Churilla Courthouse Square Park, 622 East Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, Florida.

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