Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tampa announces "Free Speech Zone" for RNC

Better make that zones … as in, more than one.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Sixty-two days before the Republican National Convention, the city of Tampa has announced the official “protest zone” where demonstrators will be within “sight and sound” of delegates entering the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of this August’s convention.

Actually there will be two such zones, both linked to South Nebraska Avenue, and both just a couple of blocks away from the Forum. There will be one such site under the Selmon Expressway along Jefferson Street, and one along Nebraska up to Brorein Street.

Along S. Nebraska Avenue and Walton Street, the City of Tampa will provide a stage as well as a sound system for participants.

In a press release sent out by Tampa Public Affairs Director Ali Glisson, the city says that the two protest areas equate to over seven acres of overall space, compared to about four acres in St. Paul for the RNC Convention in ’08, and just over one acre that was used in Denver for protesters for the Democratic Convention.

The city has also announced the official parade route from downtown toward the convention. It will start at Washington Street at North Brush Street, turning south at Morgan Street, east on Whiting Street and then south along S. Nebraska Avenue.

The lots under the Expressway along Jefferson Street have already been leased and approved by City Council. The agreements for the lots along S. Nebraska Avenue and E. Cumberland Avenue will cost $57,500, and the city must get approval from the Council for that. Those funds will come out of the $50 million grant for security provided by the Department of Justice for security at the convention.

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