23 arrested during Ybor 'Fight for $15' protests

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Nearly two dozen protesters were arrested Tuesday night during what police called a peaceful demonstration by people calling for higher minimum wages. 

Tampa police said there weren't any injuries or property damage during the demonstration, but 23 people were arrested because they were blocking traffic and refused to leave the roadway. FOX 13 spoke with TPD about the demonstration and what keeping an event like this safe and peaceful costs the city and the departments involved.

Around 100 protesters started out in Ybor's Centennial Park, but eventually marched down to the McDonald's at east 13th Avenue and North 21st Street. Some of them sat down in the roadway and refused to get up after multiple orders by Tampa police.

TPD added, after the demonstration returned to the park, some protesters thanked officers for keeping them safe and offered officers bottles of water.

Over the last four years, the Fight for $15 movement has spread from fast food employees to health care workers and affordable childcare. Protesters said Tuesday's march was about much more than increasing their pay. It was their way of showing the establishment that they deserve respect and have a right to earn fair wages.

The Florida Retail Federation and other large businesses nationwide have said they are opposed to raising the minimum wage. They claim businesses would have to make up for the higher pay somewhere, by either reducing their workforce, or in the case of fast food, the customer could end up paying higher prices for Big Macs and Whoppers.   

But protests of any kind can put a burden on the city, from hiring extra officers, to shutting down roadways. That money comes out of the community's pocket, as well, in tax dollars.