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Coalition demands permits to protest Tampa RNC, opposes repressive “Clean Zone”

By Fern

The Coalition marches towards Tampa City Hall.

Tampa, FL – Over 30 supporters rallied here, April 10, in Joe Chillura Park to demand permits to march on the Republican National Convention and to slam the “Clean Zone” ordinance. The Clean Zone ordinance proposed by the city government of Tampa would place massive restrictions on any sort of demonstration against the RNC in August. Restrictions include what sort of everyday items protestors could bring to protests and would place any and all actions against the RNC far away from the convention center – effectively silencing any opposition to the Republican agenda of war and poverty.

Speaking to the angry crowd, Marisol Marquez of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) said, “We demand permits for our march. We have a right to speak out and oppose the Republican agenda. We have a right to demand good jobs, affordable education, quality education, equality and peace.”

Marie Dino of Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) spoke out against the Clean Zone ordinance. “The Clean Zone is an attempt to silence our democratic right to speak out and dissent. It’s an attempt by the 1% to further disenfranchise the 99% and our growing consciousness. Everybody needs to rally against the Clean Zone.”

After these and several other organizers of the Coalition to March on the RNC spoke, Tom Burke of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression gave an impassioned speech in front of several local and state TV news stations. “We’re going to have a peaceful march where mothers and fathers can bring their children in strollers. We’re going to oppose the Republicans and their agenda of hate and war. We’re going to march in August, permit or no permit. While the Republicans are conducting a circus inside the forum, we will be marching outside opposing the wealthy 1%!”

Once the speeches were done, the students, union leaders and community members marched to the steps of City Hall chanting, “Hey hey, what do you say? No RNC in Tampa Bay!” Upon arriving, the protesters duct-taped several signs and posters to the doors of City Hall, denouncing the RNC, demanding permits and condemning the Clean Zone ordinance. Many young people stood on the steps and made speeches denouncing the Republican Party, the Tea Party and Wall Street. The Coalition to March on the RNC will hold their second national call-in day opposing the repressive “Clean Zone” ordinance of Tampa Mayor Buckhorn on Wednesday, April 18. For more information go to

Protesters gather at Joe Chillura Park.

Jared Hamil, organizer with the Coalition, speaks in front of City Hall.

Tom Burke, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, denounces the clean zone at

Skye Schmelzer of Students for Democratic Society speaks in front of City Hall.

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