By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA— As delegates and suit-clad Republican Party officials were busy rewriting the nominating rules for the Republican Party on Monday at the Tampa Bay TimesForum, detractors and protesters were getting their message out three blocks away at the Lykes Gaslight Park.

Seemingly undeterred by the growing mass of police officers dressed head to toe in tactical gear and brandishing semiautomatic weapons, dozens of members of affiliated Occupy groups stood with signs and banners in support of Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and Jill Stein, the Green Partypresidential nominee. There was also a large white banner demanding “Food Not Bombs,” an initiative of the local Occupy Tampa group.

At one point, 10 demonstrators locked arms and walked toward the wall of 200 “storm troopers,” as dubbed by the protesters’ chants, and sat down in the street, an arm’s length from the officers dispatched to keep order and quell rebellion.

After more than an hour of chants from a group of 30 demonstrators, who were accompanied by more than 20 people armed with video cameras and officialRepublican National Convention media passes, the small crowd began slowly walking away from the wall of officers into the nearby park.

This was done, said protester Charlie Mills, of Pinellas Park, because the officers were resorting to “kettling,” where police encircle a group of protesters and limit their path of exit.

Read more: Florida Watchdog