Police preparing for Republican National Convention protests
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa has hosted four Super Bowls, but the protesters expected to cram into the city for the Republican National Convention will be a different sort of crowd, and the police are trying to be ready.In 2008, thousands of protesters arrived in St. Paul, Minn., for the RNC. Some 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.
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We've extensively studied St. Paul," said Tampa City Attorney Jim Shimberg. "We've had meetings with folks in St. Paul, to find out what went well and what went wrong."
Ordinances were enacted banning water guns, hatchets and chains — but not firearms because that would violate a state law barring local gun regulations. And the city of Tampa will bring in more than 3,000 officers from 59 law enforcement agencies from around the state, along with Florida National Guard troops, to patrol the streets.Reder's security company is offering bodyguard services to VIPs and politicians. He said he's not concerned about protesters, many of whom are from labor union groups or organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. His worry is anarchists who believe government should be abolished."This is not a Super Bowl crowd," he said. "Big difference. Tampa's never seen anything like this."Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said that also is her concern. Anarchists caused property damage and mayhem in St. Paul, she said."We believe the vast majority of individuals that come for the RNC will do so peacefully," she said "We're not naive enough to think there won't be a small contingent bent on disruption, though."