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(en) US, Tampa, RNC 2012 explainer: Peaceful anarchists?
Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:40:15 +0300
Protesters took to the streets of downtown Tampa on Monday afternoon in a loosely
organized march called Occupy the RNC. ---- While following a city-mandated "parade
route," the group simultaneously chanted against corporate greed, government malfeasance
and the Republican National Convention generally. ---- Protesters ranged from as young as
14 to several men and women in their 80s. ---- It is worth noting that the approximately
1,800 police officers on the streets of downtown Tampa outnumbered the protesters by about
a power of five, making the blocks around the Tampa Bay Times Forum look more like a
police state than a convention hub. ---- Watch a sneak peak of Current's convention
coverage. ---- Toward the end of the march, a splinter group, referring to themselves as
anarchists, made their way to a side street where they regrouped and smoked rolled
cigarettes near a row of portable bathrooms while accepting water from Salvation Army
Much has been made of the anarchist protestors in Tampa.
A report surfaced days before the convention that anarchist groups had plans to wreak
havoc in Tampa by blocking roads, shutting down transit systems and harassing police and
pedestrians with eggs filled with acid and balloons full of urine and feces.
The bulletin also warned of a specific group of anarchists from New York City that had
plans for blockading bridges.
They don't look that scary in person.
We couldn't help but wonder, what exactly is an anarchist and what are they doing at the
Republican National Convention?
This group claimed they just want peace, and, in fact, when confronted by a scrum of
counter-protestors — Christian right-wingers that spewed insults and hate speech at them —
the anarchists stepped down.
"We will not engage with you," they said. With that, they walked away.
We asked two of them to explain exactly what they came out for in Tampa. Their ideas may
not be as fully formed as many protesters' around the country and things may change as
this week goes on, but the evidence on Monday showed that this group, at least, was fairly
benign in their intentions for violence.
"Anarchism means a system without government. And a lot of people think a system without
government would be complete chaos, but I think all governments have done for the world is
poison, corrupt and enslave society. ... Our government is taking a giant crap on the
Constitution every day," one masked and unnamed anarchist protestor explained above the
din of wails from his comrades over the arrival of what they believed was Homeland
Security, but was actually a routine drive-by of motorcycle police.
"I am hoping to accomplish peaceful protests like everyone else," he told us, before
fleeing down the street.
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