Tampa Officials Ban Puppets In Republican Convention Event Zone

TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — While puppets have been a feature of the political landscape at conventions and large-scale demonstrations for decades, officials have effectively banned them for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the city has essentially declared puppets’ components illegal in the RNC event zone, which covers most of the downtown area.

“Their components are not allowed inside the event zone,” Andrea Davis, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department, told the Tampa Bay Times. “Also their heads have been used to hide weapons and other matter, fecal matter.”

No sticks, strings or masks allowed — therefore, no puppets.

Puppet protesters call it a “suppression of civil liberties.”

“I understand that the people proposing limitations may mean well and their genuine concern may be safety,” Tracy Boyles, executive director of Spiral Q Puppet Theater in Philadelphia, told the Tampa Bay Times. “But if we try to limit our civil liberties and freedom of expression because of the acts of a few, then we’re really not free.”

Tampa-area protesters have held a series of puppet-making workshops in recent weeks for those who plan to protest at the Republican National Convention in from Aug. 27-30.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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