Activist says Charlotte much more welcoming to visitors than Tampa during political conventions
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09/07/12 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

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Andrew "Pepe" Kovanis said Charlotte was much more hospitable to visitors than Tampa during the political conventions.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF

The Democratic National Convention ended late Thursday night, and with it the protests.

Tampa Bay area protesters who had traveled to Charlotte began arriving home Friday morning.

“Very much a night and day difference between Tampa and Charlotte. Tampa seemed to be a definite police state. They didn’t want anybody in there. It was not a friendly place to be, it was not a welcoming place to be. Charlotte was all inclusive. It was welcoming and inviting. You could interact with the delegates and go pretty much anywhere in the city. The secret service zone was limited to 20 feet in front of the building. You could walk up to it you could hang out and all the events were for the people. It seemed like the Democratic convention was for the American people to be involved with where as the RNC was like stay out of our business we want nothing to do with you. It was a scary place to be in Tampa. I felt like at any moment we could be detained, arrested, beaten. But the police presence in Charlotte, they were friendly and professional. We were able to go on our marches two or three times a day. They escorted us, they blocked off all the traffic for us, they provided water, that’s the way a convention needs to be, the way Charlotte did it.

“So if a city is planning a big event who should they look to? Should they look to the city of Tampa or the city of Charlotte to organize that event?”

“I would definitely consult with representatives from Charlotte; I think their plan was right on, I give them an A+. They had the right approach, where I think Tampa was a failure as far as including the people.”



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