Tampa prepares for RNC with look at St. Paul’s 2008 run-ins with anarchists

As Tampa prepares for the Republican National Convention next month, officials there are looking at how St. Paul police handled confrontations with anarchists who crashed the RNC party in 2008.

The AP says that Tampa is learning from the way St. Paul dealt with groups that tried to disrupt the convention: 

“Some smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a confrontation with pepper-spray wielding police. Hundreds were arrested over a few days, including dozens of journalists,” the story says.

It notes that Tampa, and Charlotte, where the DNC will be held, have received $50 million from Congress to keep the conventions safe.

Says the story:

“We’ve extensively studied St. Paul,” said Tampa City Attorney Jim Shimberg. “We’ve had meetings with folks in St. Paul, to find out what went well and what went wrong.”

Ordinances were enacted banning water guns, hatchets and chains — but not firearms because that would violate a state law barring local gun regulations. And the city of Tampa will bring in more than 3,000 officers from 59 law enforcement agencies from around the state, along with Florida National Guard troops, to patrol the streets.

Reder’s security company is offering bodyguard services to VIPs and politicians. He said he’s not concerned about protesters, many of whom are from labor union groups or organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. His worry is anarchists who believe government should be abolished.

“This is not a Super Bowl crowd,” he said. “Big difference. Tampa’s never seen anything like this.”

Something they learned from St. Paul’s efforts: a security fence erected by the Secret Service made it difficult for convention participants, law enforcement and others to easily move around the downtown area, the story says.

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