After heavy morning rains, about 40 people marched through downtown Tampa in support of Occupy Wall Street's call for a day of Action. Tampa, FL, USA. 17th November 2011
In response to Occupy Wall Street's call for a national day of action, about 40 people marched through downtown Tampa Thursday afternoon, across Platt Street Bridge and along Bayshore Boulevard. Marchers included activists and college students from the ongoing Occupy Tampa demonstration, and representatives from half a dozen unions, including the teachers', ironworkers' and electrical workers' unions. Heavy morning rains and the fact that it was a weekday seem to have depressed turnout. The marchers were orderly and their were no arrests.
The Occupiers were very wary of the appearance of a police armored personnel carrier which drove past the Occupiers camp at Curtis Hixon Park on Ashley Drive. It is unclear if the APC was intended to intimidate the Occupiers or was merely en route to Tampa police headquarters two blocks away. When interviewed, Occupy Tampa activists complained of ongoing police intimidation and harassment, including nightly fly-overs by helicopters with spotlights, early morning wake up calls by certain gung ho officers, arrest of protesters while ignoring non-protesters in the park after hours, and confiscation of personal property such as backpacks from within a few feet of their owners.
On average about a half dozen activists sleep on the sidewalk in front of Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park on any given night. Without tents or other amenities, individual demonstrators maintain a 24 hour presence by coming and going at irregular hours, leaving for their day jobs and to shower and eat at home or at a sympathetic church or supporter's house. After six weeks of demonstrations in Tampa, many of the demonstrators are showing signs of weariness. Throats are hoarse from chanting. Many have been arrested for offenses such as sleeping in a city park and have posted bail and cannot afford the financial burden of being arrested a second time; if they are arrested a second time, they forfeit the bail bond from the first arrest. Some college students have taken to playing the role-playing game "Dungeons and Dragons" to pass the time and keep their spirits up.
In a further development, the NAACP has passed a resolution supporting Occupy Tampa and according to the Occupy Tampa Facebook page, "affirming their commitment to supporting us and the fight against the socioeconomic injustices of our corporate state."