TAMPA, Fla. — Republican National Convention protesters sobbed in each other’s arms as their weeklong series of protests came to an abrupt and unremarkable end.
As Mitt Romney delivered his remarks at the RNC on Thursday night, marking the end of planned events, demonstrators living in the “Romneyville” protest camp led a final march through the streets of Tampa.
Following a fragmented march against the GOP, TheDC’s photo team spoke to several protesters who said they were disappointed by low turnout at protests and the lack of open discussion between protesters and Republican leadership.
Referencing the large number of bicycle-based police officers, a protester named Lash told TheDC, “we can see liberty crumbling on bikes.”
Lash, 26, described himself as a “conservative” and “a member of the Libertarian Party for six years” as he sobbed on the shoulder of Mike, a fellow protester. (WATCH: Michael Moore: Practice the words ‘President Romney’)
“I love that we have an anarchist forum here, and I really love us, but I hate that our forum can’t even talk with their conservative forum,” he said. “The police just silence us, the Republicans just silence us. We are just getting silenced everywhere we go. It’s like no one wants to even hear what we have to say.”
Mike, 26, told TheDC that he participated in Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City before arriving in Tampa. (PHOTOS: Tensions spike as Occupy Tampa confronts Westboro Baptist Church)
Allegedly an MIT student (expelled for truancy issues), Mike said that he quit within a few months “with just enough to get out” and gave $50,000 to charitable causes. Since then, he says, he’s “barely had a dollar” in his pocket.
“Occupy is a romance, a tragedy, a comedy … it’s autonomous. Everyone has their own experience,” he said, “I think the rain really discouraged a lot of people. We lost sixteen buses that were going to come down here.” Mike said he was disappointed that the turnout was so low. “I think we’ll have a lot more people in Charlotte,” he added.
The mood on the scene was subdued and quiet. It was clear the weeklong demonstration had come to a close, and the camp wasn’t celebrating a victory but mourning a missed opportunity. (SEE ALSO: Six amusing sayings from Occupy Tampa)