Two local 'homeless' men make trip to Tampa to protest

TAMPA, Fla. -- Two self-described homeless men from California said they took part in Monday's protests against the Republican National Convention to showcase what they said was the GOP's thirst for war and insensitivity to the needy.

One of the men, Stephen Sweet - who also brought his two dogs, Friendly and Bourgeoisie, along for the drive - said he made the trek out of a sense of "civic responsibility."

"There's a real surge in interest by people these days; it's almost a renaissance," he said. "People know what's going on, and they're pissed."

The Toyota Carolla they rented had a large Ron Paul banner on the back, Sweet said, because of his companion, "Anaheim" James of Fullerton.

James, who asked his last name not be used, said he supports Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) because of his insistence that the government stay out of almost all matters.

"I agree with pretty much everything he stands for," said James.

After a brief, but heavy, rainstorm, about 500 people marched down North Tampa Street toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention is being held. It was the second march of the day.

Many more people were expected to attend protests, but the events were damped by Tropical Storm Isaac.

The storm -- expected to turn into a Category 2 hurricane Monday evening -- is moving away from Tampa and toward New Orleans. But Republican Party officials decided to cancel all but a symbolic opening gavel Monday, essentially postponing all official functions until Tuesday.

-- Dan Evans, Times Community News
Twitter: @EditorDanEvans

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