ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - The chants of "enough is enough" started early and unified the hundreds of protesters gathered at Mirror Lake Sunday evening near downtown St. Petersburg.
Among the group were consumer advocates, peace activists, and church leaders. "We're not just fighting for the 2012 election, we're fighting for the future of America as we know it," Rev. Manuel Sykes, the St. Petersburg NAACP president, told the throng.
With a giant Mitt Romney puppet helping lead the way, the marchers made their way down the designated parade route. The streets were blocked off to traffic and watched by police officers.
And some protesters didn't even march. Dorothy Byrne rolled along in her motorized wheelchair. The 83-year-old from St. Petersburg is upset with a Republican agenda that she says does little to help people on the bottom rung. "They don't care about anybody disadvantaged. They just look the other way," she said.
The age of the marchers spanned from senior citizens to 9-year-old Kayla Wall. "We're fighting for the freedom of speech," she said of the event.
Her mom, Christine Wall, thought the protest would be a real-life civics lesson. "I want her to understand that she has the power to make a difference. She has the right to peaceable assembly," she said.
And the protest was peaceful. St. Petersburg police report no arrests or incidents related to the march.
But besides those taking part in the march, few others saw or heard the message. Only a few curious onlookers came out of nearby businesses to watch the parade, and while the protest area was in sight of Tropicana Field, few of those attending the RNC kickoff party saw the protesters.
Still, David Ashworth, who helped carry a coffin-for democracy killed by corporate greed, says protests like this one can help resurrect democracy's spirit. "I think they get people active. People get interested, they get involved," he said as he continued to march.