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GOP Convention Marchers Plan Peaceful Event

coalition pic.jpg
Steve Newborn

A massive protest bringing together thousands of people from around the country is planned for the streets of downtown Tampa during the first day of the Republican National Convention. A group of organizers met today, and they promise the event will be peaceful.

They call themselves the Coalition to March on the RNC. A handful of organizers came out to Perry Harvey Park, the sliver of green on the outskirts of downtown that will be the starting point for their parade on the convention's first day.

One of the speakers was Mick Kelly of Minnesota, who helped organized the 2008 RNC Protest in St. Paul.

"Really, at the end of the day, there's things we can control, and there's things we just can't," says Kelly. "What we're doing is we're bringing people together for a family-friendly march. Really - that's what's going to happen. We have permits. Everyone should feel good about bringing their kids here and putting demands on the Republican Party."

They're doing more than protesting Republican policies - they're protesting having to hold their parades far from the convention hall

Jared Hamil is an organizer with the Coalition.

"In the public viewing areas, some of us expect there to be large fences and probably look a lot like cages," says Hamil. "That's not really working with protesters - that's working against protesters. That's caging them like animals. We're not animals. The people in our march have very real demands and we need them met."

Those "demands" mirror those of the occupy movement, including petitioning the government for help in getting good jobs, affordable healthcare and education and equality.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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