Protestors call for justice and change: Images from the streets of Tampa

Tampa Dream Defenders hosted a protest June 3 at Tampa City Hall, where organizers spoke for about 30 minutes to several hundred in attendance before requesting protesters to lie on the ground in silence and in solidarity for all black lives.

The protesters were demanding change following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

When Tampa Mayor Jane Castor joined the protest and tried to address the crowd several times, Dream Defenders' Bernice Lauredan chanted into her megaphone, "Go home, Jane. You are not welcome here," denying the Mayor the opportunity to address the crowd. Castor then offered to speak with individuals and had a one-on-one dialogue with two women before returning to her nearby office.

Protestors called for a ban on the use of tear gas and rubber bullets and "de-militarizing police." The group also wants an investigation into alleged white supremacy at TPD.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan observed from across the street with several of his officers.

"We respect everyone's right to protest," Dugan said.

The protestors then walked out of downtown, marching 2.5 miles west on Kennedy Boulevard to the Fox 13 television station. A heavy police presence blocked Kennedy to cars, allowing a safe path for protestors.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Castor lifted a curfew enacted after chaos, looting, and violence erupted in North Tampa on May 30 following non-violent protests earlier in the day.

New largely peaceful protests emerged daily around the city and throughout the Tampa Bay Area, including at the Morsani College of Medicine at the USF campus in Tampa, where about 150 faculty, staff, students, physicians, nurses, researchers, and other healthcare workers voluntarily gathered to reflect on institutional racism as a part of a nationwide #whitecoatsforblacklives movement.

Most protestors are wearing masks because COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Tampa Bay Area and in Florida.

More protests are planned this week. 

Kimberly DeFalco is a Tampa-based independent photographer who is providing pictures for 83 Degrees. You can follow her on Instagram @kimberlydefalco to see more images. 
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