29 protestors were arrested by Tampa police Thursday after after refusing to leave Riverfront Park according to the St. Petersburg Times. This is the largest number of protestors arrested for a single incident since the Occupy Tampa movement started.
The Times reports that the arrests followed a march where more than 100 Occupy Tampa protestors traveled from the movement’s base at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to Riverfront Park in Downtown Tampa. They relocated to demonstrate their desire to sleep in city parks, a move the Tampa Police Department has barred since the early days of the movement.
29 were arrested with charges of trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. They were booked into Hillsborough County Jail overnight.
So what does this signify, if anything, for the movement? A couple weeks ago, Paul Houston reported that the numbers had indeed dwindled over the months at Occupy Tampa. Will these arrests incite more people to join the movement or is this just another nail in their impending coffin?
What’s pretty clear is that squabbles like this are wholly unproductive for both parties. Yeah, it’s sad that a handful of people get arrested for sitting on the grass, peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, but what have they changed because of this? I mean like, in the big picture. Has any congressional policy been implemented, or even considered, when it comes to limiting unrestrained greed in the financial services industry since last night, or the beginning of any occupy movement?
And, the police; I don’t think I’m speculating too much by thinking there are probably a handful of better, and more pressing issues these officers could devote their time to.
We’ll keep you posted as more details develop regarding the Occupy movement here in Tampa.