NPR : News

Though Small In Number, Protesters Take Aim At Both Parties

Organizers had predicted a turnout of thousands at a rally in a Tampa park Monday morning to protest Republican policies.

They ended up getting a better showing, as least early on, from the members of the media desperate to cover something — anything — on what was to have been the opening day of the Republican National Convention.

Gusty winds left over from tropical storm Isaac, a steady drizzle and canceled charter buses translated into fewer than 200 protesters ultimately taking to the streets to march to the convention site.

"I think people are apprehensive about the weather," said Angel Buechner, 39, a welfare rights organizer from Minneapolis who was wearing a t-shirt that read, "Time to Eat the Rich."

"But there are things other than the weather preventing us from excelling," she said, and, staying politely on message, adding: "Like Republicans."

 

Gaggles of bored bicycle police were posted at the four corners of grassy Perry Harvey Sr. Park and a helicopter hovered overhead while speakers ranging from union and peace activists, to immigrant and women rights activists worked to fire up the soggy crowd.

The messages largely focused on the effect of Washington policy on the middle class and poor, particularly in the areas of education and health care.

"We're trying to build someone above any political party because equality should be above political parties," said Jonathan Alingu, 24, an economics major at the University of Central Florida and a student labor activist.

The sharpest rhetoric came from Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, who extended her message to the Obama administration, too.

"Don't go vote for the goddamn less of two evils," she said. "The hell with our corporate dominated parties."

"Tunisia," she said, "can happen in America." It was in Tunisia, after a desperate man set himself afire, that the Arab Spring uprisings began.

As volunteers passed plastic buckets for donations, Michela Martinazzi, 20, a University of Florida student, talked about why Obama is only marginally more popular with the left-wing coalition that refers to itself as the 99 percent.

"President Obama ran a campaign based on promises in 2008, and he made us all hopeful," she said. "But he has disappointed."

Will she vote in the fall?

"Unfortunately," said Martinazzi, an art history and French major, "I'm going to have to vote for Obama. At least he's not trying to defund Planned Parenthood and take away choice."

She said, however, the protesters next week will head to Charlotte, and turn their focus to the Democrats, and Obama.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

 

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.