Friday, August 7, 2009

Inspired By Glenn Beck, Protesters Overwhelm Town Hall Meeting With ‘Cat Calls’ And ‘Banging On Windows’

By Amanda Terkel via Think Progress

An angry mob of protesters disrupted a health care forum today in Tampa, FL, which was attended by state Rep. Betty Reed (D) and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D). More than 1,000 people showed up for the event, which was being held in a venue meant for just 250 people. As a result, “a large crowd gathered outside, and tensions were high among people who couldn’t get in.”

From a report by the Tampa CBS affiliate:
As the building filled to capacity, angry protesters stuck outside began to scream, yell, and chant. At one point, those trying to get inside began banging on windows as Tampa Police officers quickly spread out guarding all entrances.

10 Connects photojournalist Kevin Carlson, currently inside the meeting reports at least one fist fight breaking out inside.

Castor reportedly “left the meeting early, saying she couldn’t be heard above all the shouting inside the meeting.” When police “on bullhorns” tried to send the crowd home, many refused to leave. Additionally, some protesters’ signs “bore an image of Obama with his face painted as the Joker, an image that drew protests of racism locally when it appeared on a Web site thought to be associated with the Pinellas Republican party.”

So how did all these protesters find out about the town hall meeting? According to the St. Petersburg Times, many of them heard about it from Fox News host Glenn Beck’s 912 project and the local Republican party:

Instead, hundreds of vocal critics turned out, many of them saying they had been spurred on through the Tampa 912 activist group promoted by conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck.

Others had received e-mails from the Hillsborough Republican party that urged people to speak out against the plan and offered talking points to challenge supporters.

Beck has been a heavy influence on these “grassroots” tea parties and protests. In April, ThinkProgress spoke to attendees protesting outside the White House, and many of them said that they had heard about the event through Beck’s 912 Project.

Update Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) also faced an angry crowd at an event today, where he was repeatedly interrupted, jeered, and called a "liar."


  1. These Republican Henchmen are themselves insighting these ignorant, vile and dangerous mobs to shout down those really interested in making thoughtful change to our health care system....they KNOW if Obama fails on this it will be very bad news for the Democrats in the upcoming 2010 elections...and beyond. Mary

  2. For real??!!! These "henchmen" are your bothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, republican, democrat and independents who have had enough of the elitist of all parties who believe it their duty to "guide" the ignorant masses. I have recently come to believe that my greatest error is in believing that those who have gone before were less knowledgable, savvy or educated than I am in this enlightened age. For the first time since declaration in the American experiment, the yoke is becoming unbearable. Tell me what Adams, Jefferson, Payne or Franklin would have to say of this.