Occupy Tampa will demonstrate outside downtown park overnight

02/28/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: Occupy Tampa, Occupy Wall Street, Gasparilla, Tampa


Kenneth Montigny is helping organize overnight occupation of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa.

photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF News

Occupy Tampa is back -- or, rather, they want you to know they’ve never left. Those are some of the messages Occupy Tampa will be bringing back to the streets of downtown Tampa tonight in their first overnight occupation of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park since 2012.

One of the organizers of what they’re calling Occupy on the Rise is Kenneth Montigny, who is also with a group called Anarchist SweatShop.

"Tonight is 'Occupy on the Rise' at Curtis Hixon Park. We're going to start gathering about 5 o'clock. I encourage everybody to bring your favorite sign, musical instrument if you want to bring it. We'll be GA at 8."

GA is general assembly?

"General assembly at 8 o'clock. Be some general rabble rousing going on, trying to wake some people up that are still sleeping and those that are awake and just won't get out of the bed we hope that this can be a helpful nudge to get them out of the bed and get them on board with something they're passionate about. There's a lot of different things that need to be fixed but everybody can't fix everything. They just don't fit in so we want you to get comfortable and fit in where you want to."

It's been a few months since we've heard about Occupy Tampa so for people who might not remember what are some of the things you want them to get woken up about?

"Oh, lord, where to start? The illegal goings on up in the White House, up on the Hill. The big pharmaceutical companies killing us with all these medicines and vaccines and things that we don't need. GMO's my god, the food that we're eating today is killing us all. There are so many things. Medical marijuana is on the ballot here in Florida this year. There's going to be a big celebration tomorrow at 4:30 at Centenial Park in Ybor City for vote 2 on 2. We all at the Anarchist Sweatshop will be there representing and we'll also be on the sidewalk tonight."

On the sidewalk tonight, that's the same sidewalk where a little over 2 years ago activists for several weeks slept out and occupied that part of Central downtown. And there were almost nightly problems with the police. The police would come and ask some people to leave, especially if they went into the park. There will be people spending the night, tonight?

"Yes sir, we sure hope so. I know I will be. Several of us will so if you want, bring your sleeping bags. Even if you can't stay all night please come out anyway. Show up and stand with us in solidarity with Occupy, let's get this thing back on a roll. Not back on a roll because I don't think we really stopped, it's just I hear a lot that Occupy is dead, Occupy is dead, well we're not dead we're far from it. Everybody is just busy trying to find what they're passionate about. Most of us have, now."

Curtis Hixon waterfront park this weekend will be the site of the Gasparilla Arts Festival. They have tents set up already there. It's possible that authorities in the city will frown upon activists sleeping right in front of the park. Do you expect any kind of confrontation tonight?

"We hope not. Probably will be but we always have been mindful of our manners and I encourage everybody to still remain so. There's no need to cause a scene. We just want to wave some signs and get the information out there. Let people know what's going on and it won't get fixed if we don't fix it. Not in looking forward to any confrontations with the law. They gave us a hard time 2 years ago at Occupy on the sidewalk, waking us up every morning at 6, thank you for the wake-up call. There was several people arrested on different occasions but we're hoping that that doesn't happen tonight. We're not trying to do that. We're just trying to have some fun and get some people woke up."

If the police ask you to leave the sidewalk at night are you going to stay or leave?

"Pretty much going to stay. I'm not going to be run off. They can't tell me I can't. I have that freedom of speech and I will exercise it today."

What are some other actions coming up with Occupy Tampa?

"We've got a march against Monsanto on May 24th. And April 4th is a national day of awakening."

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