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Occupy Tampa heckles Tampa State of City speech
Posted Apr 3, 2012 by Kevin Wiatrowski
Updated Apr 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Mayor Bob Buckhorn was more than half-way through is State of the City speech Tuesday morning when he mentioned, as he has before, the golden opportunity Tampa has to show off during this summer’s Republican National Convention.
On cue, hecklers from Occupy Tampa began cat-calling the mayor from positions at the fringes of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Buckhorn didn’t let the calls dent his call for putting the city’s best foot forward in August.
“I’m glad he’s appreciative,” Buckhorn quipped while a protester uttered a gutteral cry in the distance.
“Fifteen thousand journalists, delegates, ‘them,’” he said referring to the protesters, “and thousands of others will be here. We’ve got to be ready to tell Tampa’s story.”
After the mayor’s speech, Occupy members returned to their old haunt on the sidewalk at the eastern edge of the park to criticize Buckhorn’s plans for a “clean zone” covering downtown and adjacent neighborhoods where police will focus their crowd control during the RNC. Buckhorn has proposed banning a litany of everyday items that could be used as weapons or shields against police.
Protesters said the mayor is selling out citizens’ free speech rights for the money he hopes RNC-related investors will bring to the city.
“Basically, while he pretends that he’s helping our economy, he’s destroying any rights that we have with the clean zone,” said Kade Kelly, an Occupy protester who lives in the Carrollwood area.