Tax Day protesters march to Bank of America, ask for an end to tax loopholes
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04/18/12 Liz McKibbon
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Nick Strippoli confronts Bank of America security about their presents at the protest.


photo by Liz McKibbon

Protesters in Tampa are calling for an end to tax loopholes for corporations. Tuesday afternoon a group organized by groups including Awake Tampa marched from downtown’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to the Bank of America building. Thee protesters want the wealthy to pay more in taxes.

“Hey hey, ho ho, breaks for the rich have got to go.”

A group of about 20 protesters gathered in downtown Tampa. They spent some time creating signs reading, “Middle class, out of gas,” and “Tax the 1%,” and “I paid more in taxes than Bank of America.” Chris Radulich is an organizer with MoveOn.org, and introduced the day’s protest.

“I’d like to thank everybody for showing up here today. We’re here today because the tax system is not working the way we—it’s now. We don’t feel the taxation is fair. The corporations and the rich are not paying their fair share. Historically, they are paying lower than they ever have in the past.”

“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

The group then marched to the Bank of America building in downtown Tampa, chanting and holding signs. Tim Heberlein, president of Hillsborough Young Democrats led chants with a megaphone.

“Well unfortunately the one thing I would have done, at least start it off, died yesterday in the Senate with the Buffett rule, where millionaires pay their fair share of taxes. And unfortunately it voted down party lines with Republicans feeling like—you know Republicans—or millionaires aren’t making enough.”

Protesters were met with seven police officers and Bank of America security when they arrived on the property. The on-duty security guard for the bank outlined where the public sidewalk ended and private property began, and warned protesters not to enter the property. Officer Irene Thomas from the Tampa Police Department said some of the forces present were part of the Rapid Offender Control squad or ROC officers. According to the city of Tampa website, the squad focuses on street level narcotics, burglaries, prostitution, robberies in high crime areas, as well as identifying repeat offenders.

“Protesters were on the property of Bank of America and they requested our assistance while they verbally trespassed—the protesters off the property, there was no confrontation between Tampa Police Department and the protesters, and everyone did exit the property without any problems.”

A similar protest occurred at the same Bank of America around this time last year. A woman with the group was filming past the private property line and was detained by plain-clothes officers on the scene. Unlike last year, all police officers at this event were clearly identified, each wearing a bullet proof vest embroidered with a large yellow “POLICE” on the back. Nick Strippoli is a Tampa resident who questioned the officers about their presence on scene.

“Well, first of all what I wanted to know, what they were told… to come out here. I mean it seems odd that they have this many people for this small of an—you know—number of people on our side. They almost match us one to one!”

Protesters held their signs directed toward the passing traffic, receiving occasional “honks” from the vehicles.

Previous WMNF news coverage of tax loopholes

Video of Moseley's interaction with police at last year's protest

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