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Scared of Anonymous: Tampa police prepare for mass arrests during Republican convention

Reuters / Brian Blanco

Are computer hackers, political activists and an underground army of anarchists preparing to overthrow next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa? Police in Florida seem to think so, and are taking every precaution to prepare for violence.

Acting on the assumption that hacktivists with the loose-knit, international Anonymous collective will wage a war next week on Tampa with the help of weapon yielding anarchists angry at the Republican Party and American establishment all together, law enforcement agencies in Florida are in a hurry to secure the Sunshine State in the event that a mass orchestrated action disrupts the GOP’s national convention.

Authorities had originally deciphered YouTube videos uploaded by alleged Anonymous members to suggest that the group was calling for others to provoke criminal acts across Tampa. The discovery earlier this week of bricks and pipes on a Tampa rooftop has further led authorities to assume that anarchists will engage in a mass violent uprising to coincide with the RNC. To prepare for a mass revolt, the entirety of nearby Orient Road Jail has been emptied out on the command of Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, who wants to ensure that the facility’s 1,700 beds can be utilized in the event of a mass arrest.

In Florida, it’s a classic case of fear mongering. Everywhere else, it’s a joke.

“It could be a 15 year old in the basement,” security reporter Bruce Schneier tells Tampa Bay Online.“Anonymous is a lifestyle. Anyone can say they’re with Anonymous.”

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