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article imageLeftist militants threaten Tampa bridges and cargo ships

By Larry Clifton     Aug 23, 2012 in Politics
Tampa - In Tampa, the Coast Guard will clear loitering, mooring or anchoring boats that move closer than 50 yards of 15 key Bay-area bridges while the Republican National Convention is in town due to threats by militants.
There are three main bridges that cross from Pinellas into Hillsborough County where Tampa is located next to the bay. Coast Guard interceptor boats will monitor those three bridges 24 hours a day starting Saturday at 1 p.m. through Aug. 31, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.
The main bridges are Gandy, Howard Frankland and Courtney Campbell Causeway. Each of the them spans the entire width of Tampa Bay between the two counties.
Leftist militants have reportedly said that they will be on land and water to protest the Republican National Convention and the city is working with the Coast Guard to make sure the bridges are not bombed or booby-trapped by militants.
"Current analysis indicates that some activist groups are planning maritime activities to make their political views known," the Coast Guard said in the rule, which was published Thursday. "The geography of the Tampa Bay region makes these 15 bridges a vital component of the regional transportation network."
It was also learned, Thursday, that the Coast Guard has established moving security zones to guard cargo ships carrying anhydrous ammonia, liquified propane gas and ammonium nitrate to and from the Port of Tampa. No vessels will be allowed to approach within 500 yards of such ships from Saturday through Aug. 31.
The precautions were undertaken after two television news networks reported that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday warned against potential attacks by anarchist extremists that might attempt to shut down the bay area's bridges during the RNC.
The FBI received intelligence indicating individuals from New York "planned to travel to Tampa and attempt to close" all of the Tampa Bay-area bridges during the RNC, according to CNN and Fox News.
Convention guests and delegates need approximately 16,000 rooms, and nearly a third are about 25 miles west of Tampa across the bay in Pinellas County on the Gulf of Mexico. About 450 charter buses will transport conventioneers across the bridges to and from the Times Forum.
The ban will be enforced at another dozen smaller bridges in Pinellas County at times when delegate buses are likely to cross them on their way to the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"Current analysis indicates that some activist groups are planning maritime activities to make their political views known," the Coast Guard said Thursday.
"The geography of the Tampa Bay region makes these 15 bridges a vital component of the regional transportation network."
“Boats can pass through the security zones, but must be "’expeditious,’" according to the report.
More about Republican convention, Tampa bay, democrats and protests, Pinellas County Florida, coast guard tampa bridges
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