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It’s been almost a year since Occupy Wall Street protests started sprouting up all over the country. In that time, camps have been broken up and demonstrators scattered…But how could they miss the political drama-fest that is the Presidential election? Certainly not, and the biggest shows start off with the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
Members of the movement tell Business Insider that hundreds of protestors are already camped out near the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the RNC will be held, in a spot they’ve dubbed ‘Romneyville’.
Tampa’s city council has already ruled not to evict them from the area, and Occupiers say chartered buses will bring hundreds more to join them over the weekend. Another camp is being set up in Freedom Park, also near the Forum.
“The ironic thing,” said one event coordinator, John Penley, “is that we’re set up near an army supply store that sells gas masks.”
Penley is coordinating an event called the “Let Them Eat Cake Drum Circle Dance Party” in Romneyville on Sunday night at 9:00 pm.
Protesters can head there after they demonstrate outside the RNC kickoff party at Tropicana Field. The coordinator of that event, Kelly Benjamin, told us that the movement does have a city permit to move along their planned route from Mirror Lake Drive to the field.
“It will be a fortified compound,” said Benjamin. “The fact that they (RNC attendees) are separating themselves from the people they’re representing… illustrates the problem with our country.”
As for what he’ll do about the incoming tropical storm, Benjamin pointed out that he’s a Tampa native and that for him storms are just “par for the course.”
On Tuesday at 5:00 PM protesters have planned another sanctioned march through downtown Tampa, this time to demonstrate against voter suppression.
“Downtown Tampa has become a cordoned off police state,” Benjamin told Business Insider. He sees the newly installed video cameras as fear mongering. “Everyone is talking about anarchists…equating violence with protest… They’re making sure only one version of America is in the spotlight at this event and that’s a shame.”
Here at Business Insider, we’ll be watching to see how this all plays out.