TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A group of roughly 100 protesters tested the City of Tampa’s curfew limits Monday evening as they marched through the streets downtown.
Protesters began marching in South Tampa, winding their way down Bayshore, Howard Avenue, then Kennedy. They ended up downtown at Tampa police headquarters where they stood face-to-face with a line of police officers.
Law-enforcement stood quietly staring straight ahead as protesters chanted, held signs and voiced their anger and frustrations.
Protesters tell 8 On Your Side they came here to exercise their first amendment rights peacefully, hoping city leaders and law-enforcement were listening. Those in the crowd say they want people to know they are marching for George Floyd.
“We will not be silenced, we will not be silenced,” they chanted, followed by, “Say his name. George Floyd. Say his name, George Floyd.”
One young woman told News Channel 8, “We don’t want violence, that’s exactly why we’re doing this. The police, unfortunately, started the violence. The violence, the police brutality we see on T.V. for years. It’s exhausting, we’re tired. we’re very tired.”
Another told us, “It’s about all of us, all of us are out here, we’re all black in America. It’s not easy, it’s not going to be easy. But, we have to stay out here and fight.”
The group continued marching through the streets of downtown Tampa, protesting peacefully until the city curfew went into it.
When protesters refused to leave, Tampa police assembled in riot gear near an armored vehicle and made an announcement on a loudspeaker.
“This is the Tampa Police Department. By order of the Chief of Police you are engaging in illegal activity. You are ordered to disperse and exit the area. If you do not do so, you may be arrested and subject to other law enforcement action. Other enforcement action may include actual physical removal, riot control agents, less lethal munitions or the use of other necessary which could result in serious injury. You have five minutes to disperse starting now.”
Within 30 seconds, the crowd dispersed, and all was quiet again in downtown Tampa. Tampa police officers continue monitoring the streets tonight, prepared for unrest, and hoping for peace.