TAMPA - A rally will be held Thursday morning to protest against a “Clean Zone” proposal, designed to place multiple restrictions on protestors during the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer.
“This rally is in protest to the proposed ordinance that restricts protest, free speech and freedom of assembly,” The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign said in a released statement.
The proposal the group is referring to is a package of temporary ordinances that were announced by Mayor Bob Buckhorn in late March.
Groups that want to gather must apply for a permit two weeks in advance and applicants could get turned down if they don’t adhere to a lengthy list of demands.
For instance, a permit can be denied if the applicant is having a group larger that 50, if a group plans to gather for more than an hour or if they want to rally in a place that officials don’t considered large enough.
If city council were to pass the proposals, protests would be very limited, park hours would be restricted and anything considered an item intended to be used as a weapon would be banned.
This includes anything that could be used against or as a shield from law enforcement officers, including knives, air pistols, hair spray, mace and bags of bodily fluids, to name a few. However, the ban doesn’t include guns or riffles with bullets.
While city officials say the respect freedom of speech, they want to enforce measures to ensure that they avoid riots similar to the 2008 RNC convention in Minnesota.
The clean zone stretches from the central business district to Tampa Heights, Ybor City, Hyde Park, Davis Islands and Harbour Island.
The rally will be held at City Hall in Tampa, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
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