Activists light up rush hour with protest messages in Tampa area
Protesters used lighted letter panels to spell out political messages for Tampa Bay area drivers during rush hour Wednesday evening. In apparently unrelated gatherings, two activists groups stood on overpasses in St. Petersburg and Tampa, each with a message about economic concerns. The Florida Consumer Action Network used the pedestrian overpass on Interstate 275 at 27th Avenue in St. Petersburg to spell out: "Rep Young End Top 2 Percent Tax Cuts." The message for Republican congressman C.W. Bill Young asks lawmakers to halt tax breaks for the country's wealthiest 2 percent and extend them for the middle class.Another illuminated sign over Bayshore Boulevard on the bridge to Davis Islands said: "Banks Steal Homes," a reference to allegations that big banks are using deceptive foreclosure practices. The organizer, Tampa Light Brigade, posted a video of the protest on its Facebook page in which police asked them to leave due to safety reasons. On the video, officers said they received a complaint and expressed concern that one of the panels could fall on a car below, causing damage or a crash. Later in the video, the protesters follow the officers' instructions and leave. One man heard in the video gave the impression he did not believe the officers. The lighted panels were based on the Overpass Light Brigade, which used similar signs in Wisconsin during the recall vote of Gov. Scott Walker. According to its website, the Florida Consumer Action Network is a nonprofit group working to raise grassroots support on issues and lobby elected officials.