Protest groups for RNC are diverse

"Anonymous" puts out YouTube invite to RNC

TAMPA, Fla. - The video is an open invitation to the world to come to Tampa and to protest the Republican National Convention.

"Anonymous" is a worldwide internet hackers organization that promises in a YouTube video to have a presence among the thousands who will flood downtown Tampa to exercise their freedom of speech.

"They use the net. They try to engage in flash demonstrations. They try to use high-technology so they may try a few things on the streets or indeed on the web," said University of South Florida Professor Harry Vanden

Vanden is well-versed in social justice movements. He's spent time with Occupy Tampa protesters and says it's likely Occupy groups from other cities will travel to Tampa as well. 

"We'll find that the vast majority of these groups are not interested in violent provocation, nor are they interested in violent activities. They do want to make their presence known," he said.

That said, history has shown with trade talks and past political conventions in Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago that groups will be bent on violence.

"They're dressed in all black. They're very well-organized. They have individuals in their organization that are specifically assigned to duties during the protest. They have their water people, their communication people," said Larry MacKinnon, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The Black Bloc is an anarchist group that clashed with Chicago Police at NATO. Cell phone video MacKinnon shot shows a Black Bloc group in the crowd, bandannas and face masks hiding their identities. He also says some protesters will use tactics to turn a crowd against police.

"They will fake injuries. They will use Hollywood-style blood. They'll do anything they can to incite those that are in the crowd," said MacKinnon.

In that same crowd though, you'll find Anita Stewart wearing pink. She's a military intelligence veteran whose anti-war group is known nationwide for over-the-top protests.

"Code Pink has always stood for women for peace and ending the wars and supporting the troops by ultimately bringing them all home," said Stewart.

Stewart says Code Pink's national chapter is sending representatives to teach locals how to demonstrate peacefully. She frowns on those who plan violence.

"I wish they wouldn't. Sometimes when it begins, it's hard to stop it and it really makes the whole crowd look bad," said Stewart.

That crowd is coming from all walks of life and all over the world to Tampa, invited or not.

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