The last time I marched(with the exception of ERA) was Vietnam. Some things have changed. Some have remained the same.
The crowd began small, mostly teachers and a few hardhat union workers but quickly grew to more than 200 when the speakers began. At its peak, there were almost as many hardhats as teachers along with your generic mix of middle-aged social justice lefties such as you might see at the local Unitarian church. That was before we were joined by the pro-choice women from FSU. I say joined but they may just have passed by with a demonstration march of their own.
The Tea Party was represented by 1 brave soul(at the outset) who occupied a prominent place next to the speaker's podium which was a stone wall upon which the current speaker stood. He was immediately deluged by a host of people who attempted to cover his signs with theirs They succeeded in doing so for the entire length of the protest. One woman engaged him in reasonable discourse. But, by and large, he was denigrated by individuals and the crowd at large who chanted rhythmically:
"The Tea Party's over".
He was joined by a compatriot who became the source of some later behavior that I questioned as agitation.
The most effective speakers were black Democratic legislators who exhorted the crowd to keep its passion and express that passion on the Legislature's opening day.
Two other speakers of note were:
A former union (female) president of a North Florida education union who led us all in a rousing chorus of "You can't get me I'm a part of the union" interspersed with ad-libs of "Fuck the Governor".
A son of a union family who voiced a heartfelt assertion that the choices of his parents and siblings were not mistakes.
The second Tea Partier was threatened by a individual in the crowd who appeared suddenly, did not wear union memorabilia or logo. He made several threatening comments and was intercepted by the event organizers immediately. He disappeared just as quickly as he appeared. I was busy tweeting so I may not have seen every relevant fact.
I've lived here for 40 years. This is the most intense I have ever seen a diverse group of people unite to a common interest. The overarching theme of the rally was that the plutocrats are out to destroy the middle class. With the exception of the Tea Party, no one seemed to disagree with that premise.
All eyes are focused on March 8, opening day for the Legislature. Rumor has it the tea Party is bringing 4000 people. I speculate they will be dwarfed in size.
Police presence was minimal but they certainly were checking it out.
I observe that it is easy to get hit on the head while tweeting on a cellphone.