GOP Debate Night at USF: Photos from the fringe

Jake of Occupy tamps uses bullhorn to address protestorsJake of Occupy Tampa uses a bullhorn to address protesters and onlookers.

Inside the watch party  officials allowed 1000 students and public into tentOfficials allowed 1,000 students and members of the public inside the watch party tent. The tent was sponsored by USF Student Government.

Students had to show thir id's to get inStudents had to show their id's to get into the watch party tent.

Attendees read  watch party rules before enteringAttendees were advised to follow the rules.

Activists are notActivists are not terrorists, but some seemed to dress like them. Masks were worn by many participants.

Protestors at USF Republican  debateSome groups stayed in one area, while others marched around the MLK Plaza outside of the theater building.

Students watch the debats through back door of the watch party tent- Security let others in as people leftStudents watch the debate through the back door of the watch party tent. Security let others in as people left. One complaint was that if you left (to go to the bathroom, for example) you couldn't return without waiting again in line.

Students line the sidewalk waiting to get in and media trucks surrounded the theaterBefore the watch tent opened, the line to get in was long. Here the student line snakes past some of the dozens of media trucks there for the debate broadcast.

Terry Jones -Quran burning Pastor and presidential candidate -is interviewedTerry Jones — Koran-burning pastor and presidential candidate — is interviewed by a woman wearing a hijab.

Terry Jones- Quran burning Pastor- campaign workers arrive at USFTerry Jones campaign workers arrive at USF.

Protestors march on USF campus before GOP debateProtesters march on USF campus before the GOP debate.

USF signHats off to USF for their organization and to those who peacefully (mostly) spread their message.

Theater building where debate was held Parking lot was reserved mostly for emergency service personnel The USF theater building where the debate was held was surrounded by emergency service personnel and media vehicles.

I couldn't get into the debate in the theater building. I couldn't even get into the watch party in the tent. But as a photojournalist, I found the activity outside last night’s debate at the University of South Florida to be much more interesting than what was happening on the stage inside. I’ll let CL’s Mitch Perry tell the inside story. I suppose the protests outside are a preview of what’s to come this August when the Republican National Convention comes to town.

Security was tight and the people in charge did a good job of handling the crowd. I only saw a couple of “hands on” confrontations, one in which an occupy protester threw water on someone standing in line for the convention watch tent. The exchange, which followed some verbal jabs, was over in seconds. Overall the crowd was loud but orderly.
Spirited debate breaks out in line to get in- Man in orange defends GOP A spirited debate breaks out in line to get in; the man in orange is defending the GOP. There was a lot of verbal sparring, as many different interests came to the USF campus to take advantage of the national media coverage.

More photos after the break


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