Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pre-RNC in Downtown Tampa

I don't have a ton of time to post this morning, as I'm about to walk out the door for my Level 1 Krav Maga test (nothing like 4 hours of getting your ass kicked to start a weekend). But I wanted to get some pictures put up real quick that I grabbed Friday afternoon, in downtown Tampa. These were taken about 72 hours before the start of the Republican National Convention (and the arrival of most of the protesters).

Hillsborough county courthouse normally has an all glass front but not during the RNC 2012 convention. I would say that this is due to the impending hurricane, but the same treatment was given to only a handful of other government buildings in downtown.

First roadside barricades I came across were at Madison and Twiggs, probably about 1/4 mile from the actual convention.
Some more barricades as you head down Twiggs. These ones are specifically designed to allow the police to stand above the protesters on the other side of them.

No actual officers in sight. I saw this numerous times in the area. Where vehicles had been staged but there was no sign of actual officers nearby.

This was an odd one. Lone security officer standing outside of a boarded up business. The individual talking to her just happened to walk up as I was about to take the pic. Also, immediately after I took this picture, as I was crossing the road, 3 other security personnel stepped out of the building.

Wells Fargo bank. While there is a large number of banks represented in downtown Tampa, this was the only one I saw which had found it necessary to place barricades in front of their entrance.
This was one of many seemingly odd fence placements that I saw in downtown. This here is a park not actually attached to the forum or any hotes (to the best of my knowledge) and yet it is fenced off for some reason (perhaps to keep Occupy from taking over the park)?
The front of the convention center. Nothing too special going on here. You will notice that the fences here are far less "menacing" than those throughout the rest of town. My guess is that the other fences make a less positive PR image.
Most interesting thing I saw the entire time I was downtown. These two SUVs are unmarked police/security vehicles. Moments before I took this picture they had been staying still, with internal lights flashing. As soon as I pulled out my phone to take the shot, the lights went out and they drove away. I walked a maybe 15 to 20 feet down the road and immediately 2 identical SUVs came up to take their place, with lights on.  I went to pull out my phone to take a picture of those two and the exactly the same thing happened again. Lights off and they drove away.  All that seemed odd, but it got really weird when, after I had walked a bit further down the road two more SUVs came up and again parked in this space (to the convention center)
Is the Tampa Municipal building a target for some reason? One would think so from this looks of things.

5/3 Bank. I took this picture to contrast it against Wells Fargo. This is actually a few blocks closer to the convention center than the Wells Fargo bank, and yet no barricades of any kind to be found (and not protective sheeting for the windows).

Overall, it felt as thought there was a much, much higher security effort to the North of the convention center than to the South or East. When I left I drove past Channel Side (east of the convention center) and there was very little visible difference from usual, with one exception. I was passed by a "police convoy" consisting of 3 SUVs and 2 dually trucks (why the Tampa police need dually trucks, especially for the RNC is beyond me) which were heading towards the convention center as I was leaving.
 Update: Ended up not having enough time to finish it before Krav Maga, hence why this is being posted on Sunday morning instead.


Heretic with a Heart said...

Why the focus on RNC convention security?

Trassin said...

Because the overwhelming police presence is by far the most interesting aspect so far. Wait till you see some of my pics from today. Stunning lack of protesters among the roving gangs of law enforcement officials. Even the horses have riot gear in Tampa.

Heretic with a Heart said...

I really want it to look like this: