The Justice Network
America is broken. That was the message of the Occupy Tampa protesters in Gaslight Park Thursday. The peaceful assembly was attended by several hundred diverse protesters. Although the park is located right across from Tampa Police headquarters, no officers showed up in the park, and only a handful watched from afar. Protesters expressed their complaints on signs, and chanted "We are the 99 percent" while marching to a beat provided by a young man with a drum. Some of the messages on the homemade signs included "Rise Up! The System Is Broken", "Healthcare Not Warfare" and "Hang The Bankers".
"Robert", a French national, complained about corrupt politicians in Europe and America. His gray hair and business attire lent credibility to his complaints about the insurance, oil, and banking industries.
|Robert of France: They Know How to Demonstrate!|
News organization helicopters hovering over the park created a deafening racket, making conversations difficult. The day-long protest included several marches around downtown Tampa. One such march began at 5:00 PM, went past the Bank of America building at Kennedy Blvd. and Tampa Street, then down Ashley Avenue past the art museum and library. The marchers turned at Zack Street, and again on N. Florida Ave., and continued to march past the Sam M. Gibbons US Courthouse. A few blocks further the protesters stopped and gathered on the steps of the old Federal Courthouse.
The protesters in Tampa included many older people. This "Occupy" movement is no longer a youth movement, it is now mainstream, or as they say, the "99 percent" of Americans. I saw babies in backpacks. One man marched in a wheelchair. People of all ages, races and backgrounds marched and chanted side by side.
One woman wore a Ron Paul shirt. A sign proclaimed "Governments Stage Terror To Take Away Our Rights, Infowars.com". Another read "Stop The Creed Of Greed", and one said "Stop Killing Kids In Afghanistan". "End The Federal Reserve", "Capitalism is destroying our lives!" and "Corporate America You're Fired" were messages too, along with "Save the American Dream" and "For the People not Corporations".
They chanted slogans before returning to Gaslight Park. The mainstream and alternative news media were present. Shanna Gillette energetically snapped photos for "Creative Loafing". A reporter from WMNF, 88.5 Community Radio joined in the march. News vans parked near the police building, and a mainstream reporter stood by with a bored look on her face, while the cameraman panned the scene.
One protester said it best: "When Injustice Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty".
|Greetings and Solidarity from Occupy Tampa|