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Friday, Jan 19, 2018
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RNC protesters lie down in street, disrupt traffic downtown

TAMPA - Protesters demonstrating against what they said were policies that penalized the middle class temporarily disrupted traffic downtown Wednesday night. The demonstration began about 9:30 p.m. with a march through downtown by more than 50 protesters. City officials said that for about 30 minutes protesters taunted deputies,
officers and troopers with doughnuts on makeshift fishing poles.  The group eventually wound up at Ashley Drive and Whiting Street, where they were met by about a dozen officers on horseback. Soon, a number of officers on bicycles joined them.
The "Stepping on the Middle Class'' protest was organized by the Occupy movement. The concept was to lie down in front of delegates. Ten or 12 demonstrators lay in the street while others stood nearby and helped block traffic. Some began making speeches. The delegates were in the Forum listening to speeches at the time, but the protest did disrupt traffic. Police blocked traffic at Ashley Drive and Jackson Street. Protester John Murdock from New York, a member of the Occupy movement, complained about Mitt Romney and government policies. "There is no (economic) recovery,'' he said. Eventually, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor stepped in to talk to protesters. It was a relatively amicable conversation. "If you treat people with dignity and respect, that is what you are going to get in return,'' Castor said after the standoff. In the end, the group marched back to the Romneyville camp behind the Army and Navy Store, the city said.  
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RNC protesters lie down in street, disrupt traffic downtown