As activists faced down Hurricane Isaac and an inflated police presence in Tampa (police outnumber convention demonstrators by 4-1), protest also erupted within the taxpayer-funded Tampa Bay Times Forum.
While Conservative celebrities such as Chris Christie, Ann Romney and Rick Santorum attempted to invoke imagery of unity among the GOP, a contingent of Ron Paul delegates from several states shouted “several times” during the proceedings, according to the New York Times. Part of Maine’s delegation then walked out in protest over a decision to strip away half the candidate’s delegates from the state, a move Paul supporters say is designed to squelch the faction’s rise within the larger party.
Most Americans never saw this protest, just as they didn’t see a young woman yelling about getting money out of “politics and corporations,“ the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart tweeted.
The Times reports there was “little evidence” of the protests shown to the American people, but they “signaled deeper party divisions bubbling under the telegenic surface of Mr. Romney’s nomination.”
“It’s an embarassment to the process, it’s an embarassment to the state of Maine, and to the party as a whole how things were conducted today,” said Maine National Committeewoman Ashley Ryan to Reason minutes after half the Maine delegation walked off the floor.
Ryan previously stated that she is proud of Maine Governor Paul LePage for refusing to participate in the convention because the credentials committee unseated half of the state’s 20 Paul convention delegates. On August 24, LePage announced that he wouldn’t attend the convention, stating it’s “unfortunate that not all of these delegates” selected at the state Republican Party convention will be seated.
At a rally of Paul supporters, Michigan Representative Justin Amash said it might be time to “audit the RNC.”
In his address to supporters, Paul said people at the RNC were “worried about just how much trouble we would cause.” He continued, saying now “there is a big fight going on” now “they overstepped their bounds” and “others are joining us” because they realize “the Ron Paul people are right.”
When told they could avoid a challenge to their credentials if they threw their support behind Romney, the ten unseated Maine delegates told the campaign representatives that “you will have to steal it from us.”
Paul delegates have also been successfully unseated in Louisiana and Oregon.
Protests and marches continued in the streets of Tampa with activists shouting familiar Occupy slogans such as “We. Are. The 99 percent!” and “We. Are. The source of all your wealth!” The demonstrations were peaceful, although police in riot gear did break up a fight outside the RNC on Tuesday between protesters and members of the Westboro Baptist Church. No arrests were made by police.
Two men living in Romneyville got into an altercation that led to one of the men being arrested and charged with aggravated battery after he hit 60-year-old Eddie Thomas and allegedly broke his jaw.
Two other protesters were arrested at other demonstrations: one Monday and another on Sunday.
Police stopped a dozen anti-war protesters from Code Pink from entering an event attended by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after the group said it intended to arrest her for war crimes.
Protesters carried handcuffs to the event and said they were there to make a citizen’s arrest of Rice. Officers ordered the protesters to leave because they were on private property, so activists went back to the sidewalk and lay under sheets made to look like they were blood-splattered.