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Politics / Issues

Four Things RNC Protesters Want You to Know About Them


More than 15,000 protesters are expected to flood the city of Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention.

We asked three Tampa-area activists what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish:

 1. They want to send a message to the Republican Party. 

"The 99% are not happy with their goals and ideals," said Sky Smetzer, a member of Students for a Democratic Society in Gainesville.

Jared Hamil, a member of the same group, adds, "We'll be there to say no to the Republican Agenda and we'll be also demanding five things: good jobs, health care, affordable education, equality and peace." 

2. They feel like the city of Tampa hasn't treated them fairly and is trying to stifle dissent.

"I think it's the city in general," Hamil said. "We had the Clean Zone and Event Zone. What it does, it not only limits things, it tries to control protesters in a way that is just undemocratic.

"Just these things all together, it's pretty atrocious."

3. They want to keep the momentum of the Occupy movement going.

"It created a whole new atmosphere for people," Hamil said. "People can see now there is a mass movement of people saying no to the 1 percent.

"Everybody is here together. We're all related and we're all here to say no to the corporate led government."

4. They're peaceful protesters, but don't expect them to try and influence anyone who isn't. 

"Were going to abide by the Tampa Bay principles. They're basically a St. Paul principles that the coalition to march on the RNC in 2008 marched under," says Corey Uhl.

"The standards are, each group will respect each others events as far as what is planned. If they have a different way of expressing themselves, that they do it away from our event. We won't necessarily renounce it because these are tense times."

For more of this interview, listen to Florida Matters on WUSF 89.7  Tuesday at 6:30 P.M.

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