'Say No to Red Tide Rick': Florida Governor Forced to Flee Event After Angry Protesters Shame Him Over Anti-Environment Record
As dead marine animals continue to wash up on Florida’s coasts, a campaign event for the state’s term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott—who is attempting to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson—was “besieged” by a crowd of protesters angry about his role in exacerbating the ongoing red tide crisis by systematically attacking the state’s environmental protection laws.
“A red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism),” and they have been documented along the state’s coastline since the 1840s, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But this year’s red tide—fueled by industrial as well as residential run-off and made worse by climate change—has been much more intense and destructive than previous ones.
“The aggressive overgrowth, which occurs each year but intensifies with high temperatures, pollution, and stagnant water, has become unusually strong since emerging in October, and has stretched into the longest outbreak since 2006,” the Huffington Post noted in August, citing officials who said that red tides typically end in April.
Amid more reports of fish killed by the toxic algae, and “with the noxious odor of red tide hanging in the air,” the Sarasota Tribune-Herald reported Monday that “protesters jammed the sidewalk and spilled into the street around Mojo’s Real Cuban, forcing Scott to enter the restaurant through the back door and leave the same way after just 10 minutes as members of the crowd shouted ‘coward.'”
The protesters toted signs that decried Scott’s environmental record and declared, “Say No to Red Tide Rick.” The crowd chanted “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Red Tide Rick has got to go,” and booed while the governor departed the restaurant and was quickly ushered into a black SUV by his security team.
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