TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Police in Temple Terrace are getting ready for potentially thousands of people to descend on an intersection to rally in support of Palestinians in Gaza.
The demonstration is expected to take place in the area of North 56th Street and Fowler Avenue Saturday between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Melanie Boyd, who works at a hair salon in the area, recently got caught up in a similar demonstration.
“They had all these guys in the back of their truck that were jumping out and they had Palestinian flags and they had things on their face and things on their head and they were screaming death to America, death to Israel,” Boyd recalled.
Boyd said she was in fear for her life at the time, due to the hostility of the demonstrators.
“They weren’t nice, and they were in the middle of the street in front of your cars,” Boyd said.
Boyd and one of her coworkers at Studio 56 plan to reschedule clients to avoid any conflict.
“Our main thing is our safety and our clients safety. Really, from being here in the past when those things happened, you don’t know what’s going to occur,” said Linda Bradish who said police came to their shop to notify them of the protest.
“They just came and told us, warning us that there would be a protest on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and they were expecting upwards of 3,000 people,” said Bradish.
Temple Terrace City Manager Carlos Baía said the city was aware of the demonstration and recognized everyone’s rights to free speech.
“The organizers have indicated they will have their own monitors to ensure that people stay within the sidewalk area and again, respect the rules of the road and allow pedestrians and vehicles to travel through the intersections,” Baía said.
He said several other law enforcement agencies are on alert just in case.
“We will be prepared in case there is any need, but our hope and our expectation is that things will go perfectly fine,” said Baía.