The Tampa Police are preparing for the possibility of violence as protesters prepare to descend upon the Republican National Convention next week. Today it was reported that they found “suspicious” bricks and pipes on the rooftop of a building near the convention site, in addition to graffiti about the RNC.
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.
“It is disconcerting but it’s not surprising,” she said. “This is normally how things proceed leading up to a large event.”
Tampa will host the RNC at a downtown stadium from Aug. 27-30.
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.
Castor said she is determined not to preside over a repeat of St. Paul.
There have already been numerous threats of violence and mayhem by anarchist groups, as noted at Big Government. Recently the New Black Panthers also made threats against the RNC. The city of Tampa is trying to accommodate the protesters with special protest zones and parade routes, but something tells me the anarchists and NBPs out there won’t be interested in those accommodations.