Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tampa Police Department barricades Lykes Gaslight Park

CONTACT: Facilitation
Tampa Bay General Assembly will still convene
Tampa, FL (October 5, 2011) — This evening, the Tampa Police Department barricaded a three-block diameter around Lykes Gaslight Park, where the Tampa Bay General Assembly (TBGA) plans to assemble tomorrow in downtown Tampa.
All federal and state buildings have been blocked off in early anticipation for the largest social activist gathering in Florida in over a decade. The TBGA is a group of citizens trying to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. With potentially thousands from around Florida showing up to hold a public forum, organizers have been informed that officers are already on duty patrolling the area.
Attendees are still welcome to gather, but the police have warned the Legal Team that citizens must stay off roads and obey crosswalks, cannot wear masks and must follow the laws of the park. The park hours are from dawn to dusk. Drugs, alcohol and megaphones are prohibited. The law states that no more than fifty people are allowed to gather without a permit. A permit requires sixty days of notice, $300 per day, insurance costing $1000 per day, security and sanitation details. If any of these laws are broken, gatherers will be subject to arrest.
The Tampa Bay General Assembly organizers strongly feel that these ordinances interfere with their First Amendment right to peacefully gather. Organizers are asking citizens who attend to remain nonviolent and orderly, but photograph everything. Police have warned that the TBGA will not be allowed to reconvene after tomorrow. Essentially, this will be the final gathering at Gaslight Park unless the General Assembly decides by consensus to defend its First Amendment right and occupy the park.
Organizers will conduct Peace Workshops to inform attendees how to confront potential escalations. The TBGA is a public forum, designed to allow people of every background to gather and discuss social issues. It has voted by consensus to remain peaceful throughout its existence.
All are welcome. None will be turned away. Nonviolence is paramount.

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