Occupy Wall Street activists are preparing to travel to Tampa and Charlotte for the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions. The group is planning to charter busloads of protesters south as part of demonstrations beginning in Tampa on August 27.
Local Occupy Tampa activists will likely remain in place through the RNC, despite efforts to move the group from a West Tampa park, ABC reports. Protesters moved to Voice of Freedom Park back in January following the city evicting the group from downtown. West Tampa park is owned by strip club mogul Joe Redner who has given the group an eviction date of September 15.
“Occupy Tampa has stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street since its inception, and will function as the host occupation for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL on August 27th–30th, 2012,” the group said in an official statement regarding the RNC, adding that ongoing preparations are being made for the convention protests, including securing sleeping arrangements for occupiers, in addition to canopies, sun screen and portable water containers for protection from the weather.
Occupy Tampa has formed a Regional General Assembly to coordinate Occupy groups throughout the bay area, including: Occupy Lakeland, Occupy St. Petersburg, Occupy Bradenton, Occupy USF, Occupy Port Richey and Occupy Sarasota.
“We have tried to plan as much as possible ahead of time, but we want to leave space open to spontaneously produce additional actions by harnessing the number of people that arrive,” the group states.
Food Not Bombs has called a World Gathering and plans to run feeding operations throughout the RNC. During the week before the RNC, chapters of Food Not Bombs from all over the world plan to convene in order to prepare to feed the flood of protesters entering the city.
“We invite everyone to come and take advantage of the preparations we have made, to help ensure that all occupiers and other supporting groups can use this moment of national attention to confront the political status-quo,” Occupy Tampa states.
Yves Smith notes police have started blocking roads and stopping and searching cars all over the neighborhood surrounding Voice of Freedom park, which is in a black, low income area.
“It’s common for raucous parties to spill out into the streets on Friday nights but all of a sudden the authorities have taken in [sic] interest in shutting them down with a huge police presence,” Smith writes.
Occupy Charlotte made a similar appeal to its supporters regarding the DNC, which kicks off in Charlotte at the beginning of September.
In a written statement, the chapter states:
“The Democratic Party has chosen this ‘Wall Street of the South’ as its rallying city despite North Carolina being one of the most anti-union states in the country and despite Charlotte being the home of several corporate criminals, most notably Bank of America, one of the mega-banks most responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown, Charlotte holds the second largest concentration of finance capital in the United States, the East Coast headquarters of Wells Fargo, the new home of human-rights offender Chiquita, and the home of Duke Energy, which recently merged with Progress Energy, making Duke the largest energy monopoly in the country.”