Republican National Convention

Mark Schreiner / WUSF

A half-dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church held a short demonstration in downtown Tampa Tuesday.

The Kansas group, known for protesting gay marriage and picketing funerals of American servicemen, drew the attention of a handful of media and curious passersby.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The protest activity in downtown Tampa surrounding the Republican National Convention remained sporadic - but spirited - Tuesday. A rally in support of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church quickly turned into a parade of anarchists.

After the Westboro Church protest fizzled, the anarchists took over. A group of several dozen people, led by black-clad people with bandannas hiding their faces, left the official viewing area for a march through downtown.

They faced row upon row of riot police adorned with plastic face shields, batons and body armor.

RNC Protesters May Be Fewer, But Their Message Is Mighty

Aug 28, 2012
Eric Mennel / WUSF

Some look threatening, wearing black and covering their faces with bandanas.

Others march in pink dresses and high heels, fighting the war on women's rights.

Their numbers may be smaller than anticipated thanks to bad weather and heightened security, but protesters from across the nation remain vigilant during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

They want their voices heard.

WUSF reporters have spent the past week documenting these groups and their efforts. Here's a look at some of our work.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

A group of likely anarchists dressed in black tried to march without a permit through downtown Tampa late Monday afternoon.

The protesters sat down in the intersection, chanted a slogan then turned and walked back to the protest zone.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says America will have a different view of Mitt Romney by the time he accepts the Republican nomination for president.

Rubio will introduce Romney on Thursday, the final night of the Republican National Convention. He may have provided a preview of his speech to a gathering of Florida delegates Tuesday.

Carmel Delshad / WUSF

Warren Colazzo is in the business of beautiful people.  As the co-owner of Thee Dollhouse gentlemen's club in Tampa, Colazzo is expecting some major business during the RNC.

"If they're going to compare this to three or four super bowls, I just think people better be ready. It'll be very very busy."

First, they were sent to a hotel an hour's drive away from the convention.

And then, they were forgotten.

At least that's how the Florida Delegation feels after the buses failed to show to pick them up earlier today.

Delegates said it took almost three hours for the last of three buses to finally arrive around 2:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, they sweated in 90-degree heat in a tent outside the Innisbrook Resort. They didn't go inside because they thought the bus might arrive at any moment.

Dalia Colon / WUSF

Tuesday's Florida Matters: The Convention included plenty of politics. Here's what you missed:

RNC Protests Smaller than Expected

Aug 28, 2012
Eric Mennel / WUSF News

There may not have been much happening inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Monday, but plenty was happening outside.

Protesters marched through downtown on approved - and unapproved - parade routes.

Organizers for The Coalition to March on the RNC estimated 5,000 people would show up. Only 300 to 500 actually made it.

Bonnie O'Brien of Tampa was dressed in pink and sitting alone to the side of the rally.

Protesters Disrupt Marco Rubio Speech

Aug 28, 2012
John O'Connor / WUSF

Marco Rubio was ambushed Tuesday as protesters crashed a Florida delegation breakfast during his speech.

At least eight people were removed from the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, where the Florida Republican National Convention delegation is staying. A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy said the protesters were only being warned for trespassing, but would be arrested if they returned.

Watch: Is Downtown Tampa a Police State?

Aug 28, 2012
Alex Cook

"It's not a police state," says Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, adding that the officers on hand during Monday's March on the RNC were there for the protection of the protesters.

Armed National Guard troops peek from behind a labyrinth of barriers covering the city blocks around the convention site.  Police officers on bikes, horses, motorcycles and foot roam the empty city streets.

Some protesters are worried.

Take a look at downtown for yourself and see what Castor and protesters have to say below.

The Florida Delegation's Snow Day

Aug 27, 2012

It's the closest these Floridians will ever get to an actual snow day.

The threat of Isaac canceled most official business at the Republican National Convention Monday. But the storm went west, sending a little wind and rain to Tampa. The typical summer afternoon thunderstorm is worse.

So members of Florida's delegation were free to engage in a political snowball fight — they ate, partied and trashed a political traitor: former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

Oh, Isaac. How good you've been to the Ron Paul Revolution!

With 24 hours of nothing officially happening at the GOP convention in Tampa because of Tropical Storm Isaac, Ron Paul supporters for the second time in as many days made themselves the center of attention at Mitt Romney's big nomination party.

With a bang of his supersized gavel, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus just opened the 2012 GOP convention.

And moments later with another bang of the gavel he declared it in recess.

As we've reported, tropical storm Isaac convinced Republicans to delay the real start of their convention until Tuesday.

Organizers had predicted a turnout of thousands at a rally in a Tampa park Monday morning to protest Republican policies.

They ended up getting a better showing, as least early on, from the members of the media desperate to cover something — anything — on what was to have been the opening day of the Republican National Convention.

Watch: Protest at the Trop

Aug 27, 2012
Alex Cook

Delegates and reporters partied inside Tropicana Field Sunday night, officially kicking off the Republican National Convention.

Outside, protesters gathered to march in opposition.

Police worked with the protesters to keep them on the designated parade route, which led through abandoned streets to a chain link fence outside the baseball field's parking lot.  

The threat of Tropical Storm Isaac loomed, and it wasn't long until the protesters fled from the impending weather.

See the protest and march below.

RNC Marchers Take to the Streets of Downtown Tampa

Aug 27, 2012
Steve Newborn / WUSF

The first day of the Republican National Convention might have been canceled, but that didn't stop a march by a coalition of about a dozen protest groups. The wet weather put a damper on their numbers, but apparently not their spirit.

Storms, Strippers and Stereotypes

Aug 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac may be making headlines after delaying the start of the RNC -- but the media blitz in Tampa shows no sign of stopping.

Reporters from The Washington Post posed an interesting question:

Why pick a state in Hurricane Alley in peak hurricane season for an all-important nominating convention where visuals are everything?

When Marco Rubio introduces Mitt Romney on Thursday, the Florida senator will see his rising star climb even higher into the national and international spotlight. Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia explores Rubio's ascent in a new book titled... wait for it... The Rise of Marco Rubio.

RNC Scene: Coalition to March on the RNC

Aug 27, 2012
Steve Newborn / WUSF

Wind and rain didn't keep an estimated 500 people from protesting Monday afternoon in downtown Tampa. The group, known as the Coalition to March on the RNC, gathered at Perry Harvey Sr. Park on Orange Street.

At times, it looked like there were as many journalists as protesters at the event, where police on bicycles worked to keep potential anarchists in the protest zone.

Listen here.

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