The rally detailed activists' demands, which include moving the suggested $131.1 million in police funds to public housing an array of other public services. Afterwards, the protesters hit the streets of downtown St. Petersburg.
There, the protesters met both support and opposition. The opposition came mainly in the form of the St. Petersburg Police Department, and white middle aged men who were upset by the protesters marching on the Central Avenue.
Supporters of the marchers honked their horns and raised their fists, while full grown white men creeped out of bars and condo high rises to call names and flash the "L" sign for losers and to get in the face of Black people to argue how defunding police doesn't work.
The most common refrain from the antagonizers was "Get a job!" In different areas of downtown. They repeated it like clones. The bizarre thing about this is that it was around 8 p.m. when the protesters were marching (many had worked that day). A couple of the antagonizers were asked if they were working at the time, they said no.
Despite the police pushing protesters off of the street with several vehicles, the activists played a game of cat and mouse, and whenever the police cruisers left, the streets were theirs again.
In July 2020, some protesters worried that rhetoric in a local "crime-watch" Facebook group would lead to real life violence. That same month, SPPD had to remind people that it's illegal to run over protesters with a car. At this event, the protesters had their own security, called Elite Security team, that was protecting the crowd with vehicles in front of and behind the crowd.
"We have to put a real demand in," activist Will Breeze said. "And we got to protest too, but we can't just protest and then five minutes later say it's whatever, no, we have to stay on it."
During the rally leading up to the march, Breeze and others made their discontent with the city and the local police department heard. They called on the attendees to remember George Floyd and fight in his honor.
"When millions and millions of Americans were out of work and falling deeper into poverty, Floyd was a victim of the capitalist system," said Karla Correa of the St. Petersburg Tenants Union (SPTU) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), the groups who organized the event.
Correa and several other speakers said that SPPD's increase in budget was an affront to those who grieve for Floyd, and to the poor and working class in general.
"Here in St. Pete, the general budget this past year in the current fiscal year is about $307 million and the police got 124.8 million," William Kilgore of SPTU and St. Pete Cop Watch said.
"That is like 40% of that budget. That's crazy," Kilgore said to cheers from the audience."
Ruth Beltran of PSL spoke about the overall role of police in the U.S., like many other speakers that day.
"They guard oppression. Mass incarceration exists today because of the role of the police," Beltran said, referring to the original role of the police as slave catchers. "It is the police officers who go into black and brown Indigenous communities and arrest our people."
Sheridan Murphy of the Florida Indigenous Alliance called on attendees to rise up and take action by "any means necessary" if they feel they are being wronged by city council and police.
"We know what power is, we have that power. They only have authority," Murphy said, referring to local officials and police. "You have a choice to make I say make it here make it now."