Republican convention protesters come armed with outrage, hashtags

Laura E. Davis
The Signal

Protesters in downtown Tampa, Fla. (Laura E. Davis/Yahoo News)
Protesters in downtown Tampa, Fla. (Laura E. Davis/Yahoo News)

As dark rain clouds gathered over downtown Tampa, Michael Purchner, who came from Mississippi to protest the Republican National Convention, said he was frustrated with the country's economic state and the way both political parties are handling it.

"These corporate monsters, these corporations, are pretty much running the show," Purchner said. "There's just so much that needs to be fixed in this country."

Then the downpour hit. Many rain-drenched protesters went across the street to seek cover, prompting police to relocate their barrier.

Like so many Occupy Wall Street-flavored protests, this one was backed by a shadow protest online as Twitter users joined in. The Twitter hashtag #resistRNC spiked Monday, going from fewer than 75 tweets per hour Sunday to more than 450 on Monday afternoon. The hashtag #OccupyRNC surged as well.

Data provided by Attensity
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Data provided by Attensity

"Standoff between protestors and riot police. More riot cops coming in with shields," wrote the user @BatmanWI, one of the most prolific presences during the event. Those joining the action online appeared to be a combination of people physically on the ground and those backing them from afar--presumably from a dry location.

Chris Wilson contributed reporting.