Occupy Tampa to leave Voice of Freedom Park soon after Republican convention

08/02/12 Seán Kinane
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Occupy Tampa is winding down its use of a West Tampa park and appears to be agreeing to vacate it by September. The park’s owner, Joe Redner said Occupy Tampa will leave by September 15.

“I talked to them and they said “Sure we will be out of there by the 15th”. It’s not being used by anybody but the homeless people. There’s no Occupy down there.”

Eilzabeth Toms is member of Occupy Tampa and Food Not Bombs, two groups that use Voice of Freedom Park. She said she doesn’t speak for either group, but she anticipates the encampment to close up shop not long after the Republican convention leaves town at the end of the month.

"Personally, I thought it would be best, healthiest, if we closed down sleeping in the park after the RNC. I’ve been very adamant about using it because I think it’s very important that we have that space.”

Toms said the Occupy Tampa general assembly has not discussed a date to leave the park, but that it has agreed that when the tents are gone the group will use its funds to pressure wash the sidewalk and lay down new sod. She said it wouldn’t surprise her if the City of Tampa tried to kick out the occupiers before the Republican convention.

"Because it gives us strength, it gives us a place to be, it gives protesters a place they can go to get information 24/7. They do want to curtail any power that we do have so I wouldn’t be surprised if they make that push.”

The owner of Voice of Freedom Park says he’s sure protesters will stay in the park during the Republican convention, but Occupy Tampa won’t need the space after that.

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