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Thousands in Tampa Bay demand justice for George Floyd and all victims of police brutality

By staff |
June 1, 2020
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Militant protests in Tampa, FL demand end to police crimes.
Militant protests in Tampa, FL demand end to police crimes. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society hosted a protest May 30 to demand justice for George Floyd and community control of the police. The event corresponded with the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression’s national day of protest. Reporters estimate 5000 people in attendance at the height of the protest.

A crowd began to form a half-hour before the scheduled time. Hundreds marched to the Temple Terrace Police Department, chanting, “Say his name! George Floyd!” and “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” The protesters circled back to the corner of 53rd Street and Fowler Avenue, the event’s location, where the crowd kneeled at the intersection before more chants and speeches. The march continued west on Fowler for a mile. The protest officially ended at the University of South Florida’s entrance after two hours of speeches, marching and chanting, but many continued to march for the rest of the day.

The energy was high for hours after the protest’s end. Some protesters set fire to a gas station, set fireworks off in the street, or ‘shopped for free’ at the stores at the local University Mall. An estimated 40 people were arrested.

Escalations began due to police action. There was police presence from the beginning, in the form of cars, helicopters and drones. That night, after the crowd had thinned, the police teargassed and shot rubber bullets at protesters. When protesters were injured, no ambulances arrived when called.
“I was extremely frustrated that there was a time where they gassed and maced, then proceeded to block support from paramedics when we literally had someone screaming in agony from the eye and skin burns,” states Jefferson Mendoza, a protester at the event.

Tampa Bay SDS’s large protest revealed a strong community desire for police accountability, one that many rallied around throughout the weekend.