Faith leaders to protest RNC kick-off tonight in St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg will not only host the national convention kickoff party for 20,000 Republicans at the Trop Sunday, it also will be ground zero for protesters seeking 15 minutes of fame, reports Linda Hersey

One of the larger demonstrations planned for Sunday is by local faith leaders from Tampa Bay. Organizers say they expect hundreds to join them at Mirror Lake Circle for a community vigil at 5:30 p.m.

With Tropical Storm Isaac churning toward the Gulf of Mexico, the RNC opener is canceled Monday night, but the kickoff party Sunday at the Trop is scheduled to go ahead. So is the protest by faith leaders.

The group will march along a designated “parade route” to the Trop for a protest. Marchers are invited to assemble along Mirror Lake Drive in St. Petersburg (in front of Mirror Lake Lyceum).

They will then march via the parade route to the security perimeter outside Tropicana Field.

Faith leaders said they will “mourn the jobs lost in the recession caused by the reckless greed of the 1% at the expense of those in the 99%.” They are asking participants to bring signs and be prepared to sing and chant.

“We’ve become America Inc.,” said Rev. Manuel Sykes, President of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP.  “We need to fight back against the corporate takeover of our nation.”

 Local faith leaders attending the march include:

  •  Rev. Manuel Sykes – Bethel Community Baptist Church
  • Rev. GW Rolle – The Missio Dei
  • Rev. Abhi Janamanchi – Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater

The leaders say they are speaking on their own behalf and do not necessarily represent the views of their church.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.