New York protest movement has spread to occupy Tampa

Cyber threat not linked to protestors

TAMPA - The protests against Wall Street finance giants that began in New York have spread to a dozen other cities, including Tampa.

A protest by a group called "Occupy Tampa" that took place Saturday was small and peaceful, but a YouTube threat has caught the attention of city officials.

It started with a few dozen students protesting Wall Street profits in the face of widespread economic hardship and unemployment.

Then when a policeman used pepper spray on protestors, the movement gained momentum, and took over a large square in lower Manhattan. When those protesters went to occupy the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, 700 people were arrested.

Now, protesters in over a dozen cities are staging events.  One in Tampa drew between two and four hundred people on Saturday.

Tampa police are not overly concerned about another action scheduled for Thursday.

"We're not in the business of arresting protestors. We're in the business of arresting lawbreakers. If somebody breaks the law, yes they'll go to jail.  We don't expect that to happen," said Tampa Police spokesperson, Laura McElroy.

Someone claiming to be with a group of so-called "hacktivists" that cyber-attacked Sony, Bank of America and other major companies made a YouTube video threatening to "wipe Tampa off the internet" if local police harmed the protestors.

The protest group, "Occupy Tampa," claims to have had nothing to do with the video threat.

"It's anonymous. It's no longer on the web. We just don't have any information that supports this as a credible threat," said McElroy.

Tampa's information chief James Buckner says he has no plans to employ any safeguards beyond what they already do but he admits any system can be hacked.

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