As the Republican National Convention approaches, law enforcement have been gearing up for next week's event. There has been lots of talk by the New Black Panthers, local anarchists and the infamous Anonymous group about protests and violence.
Tampa police said Tuesday that they confiscated pipes, bricks and other "suspicious" items from the rooftop of a downtown building located about a mile from where next week's Republican National Convention will be held.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said she believes the items were put there by protesters for use during RNC demonstrations. She added that some RNC-related graffiti was also found at the building, but wouldn't elaborate.
Police have been preparing for the event for nearly two years. Castor said she's studied other protests surrounding political events, most notably the RNC in St. Paul in 2008, where authorities were taken by surprise by an active minority of demonstrators who smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a confrontation with pepper-spray-wielding police. Hundreds were arrested over a few days, including dozens of journalists.
This preparation has obviously been going on a long time. Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said, "The large majority are law-abiding protesters who are coming just to be part of the political process; for their voice to be heard. A small percentage is trouble-makers."
She said officers have developed a security plan and even attended the NATO conference in Chicago in May to observe how violent protests were handled.
"We are preparing any way possible," she said. "We can't talk about the particulars. We are building a comprehensive security plan.
The following is a letter by the Tampa Bay Action Group that was published in 2010 after it was announced that the RNC would be held in Tampa:
In August of 2012, the Republican National Convention will be held in the sunny, humid, sub-tropical belly of the beast of Tampa Bay, Florida.
The Tampa Bay Action Group (TBAG), a decentralized collective of anarchists strewn throughout the urban and swampy reaches of Florida, is committed to making 2012 and the RNC in Tampa a truly catastrophic celebration of liberty and joy. The theater of capitalist disaster will rear its head in the divided apartheid communities of Tampa, where wealth touts itself as master of the land, as the Mayan calender [sic] comes to the end of a cycle. While TBAG does not adhere to prophesy, the hint of collapse (and renewal) is a promising dream.
We do not take sides with Dems or Reps. Nevertheless, the Republicans and their racist wannabe Tea Party stooges happen to be the imperialists-dejour [sic] entering our waters. We intend to demonstrate what a real tea party looks like: the direct and deliberate destruction of the commodities of our oppressors and the celebration of the armed spirit.
With Love and Lust for Life,
The Tampa Bay Action Group
PS, we are not a coordinating committee. That group has yet to present itself.
It seems now that there is video of the kinds of tactics that may be employed against the RNC:
A video also was posted just last month which referenced the hacker group Anonymous which called for “Black Bloc against buildings that contain corporations and governments that oppress, and to show the system what it truly means to resist.”
Here's the transcript from the video:
Greetings world we are anonymous. All of us have carefully prepared to face our authoritarian government at RNC for well over a year now. Last year in 2011 you seen the brave hearted activists of America rise up against the injustices of our corrupt government. Occupy wall street quickly transformed into an occupy America, massive amounts people peacefully protested in streets but many fell in the marches against oppression, violently beaten, gassed, pepper sprayed and arrested along with their hopes and dreams of true freedom shattered.
This was followed by law after law being thrown upon our society in an effort to further suppress us by destroying our basic human rights and ignoring the constitution. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has created Clean Zones at RNC in a desperate effort to put up more anti-constitutional walls attempting to block our righteous path to true freedom. The path that so many oppressed, suffering American citizens boldly walk on in our struggle for what is just. When Protest becomes illegal there is no other option left but to fight. No one rules if no one obeys. Therefore Mayor Bob Buckhorn can shove his authoritarian clean zones up his ass. Mr. Buckhorn your warnings mean nothing to Anonymous.
We are legion, we are many and we do not forgive you Buckhorn and we will not obey these authoritarian laws. We have come to a point in time where it is obvious that marching around with signs will not have a further effect on this system of enslavement. What will have an effect is thousands of us who desire true freedom bursting through the streets with our iron clad fists of revolution ready to crush the oppressors.
So it's time warriors of the internet gather and bring the black block to the buildings that contain the corporations and governments that oppress us and show this system what it truly means to resist. A guide map will soon appear on resist RNC dot org prior to the start of the RNC as a starting point. These locations are present in every town across the nation as well as the globe. Together, united by one, divided by zero the Activists traveling to RNC from all over the nation can take over the city of Tampa.
Now is our time to show that we have had enough and we will show this by giving our oppressors a battle they will forever remember. Do not fear the enemy for they rely on intimidating fear tactics to control us. When you no longer fear only then you can become truly free. They cannot stop us all, there will be far too many of us for them to force us all to obey their rules. Do not let their blockades stop us from marching, knock them down and march on. Let nothing stop you, millions of our people still suffer and together we shall fight for them. We are done asking for our freedoms it is time we take our freedoms. Together we will keep the dreams of our fallen comrades alive.
Whatever happens, it seems that the Tampa police, and no doubt others such as the Department of Homeland Security, will be on hand. Hopefully, whatever protests there are, and there will be protests, will be peaceful and not escalate to violence.