Orlando Activist Arrested for Feeding Homeless in Public Park

[while this article is not explicitly SDS, central florida’s SDS, MDS, and FNB have a rotating cast of participants who work in multiple groups. Each group does, however, have members who are strictly its own. Please do not view this FNB experience as a SDS project, but neither view it as separate from the SDS struggle]

ORLANDO, Fl. – April 5, 2007. Orlando activist and Food Not Bombs participant Eric Montanez was arresteded for violating Orlando’s “large group feedings” ordinance. This ordinance was passed last summer and bans the public distribution of food to a number of 25 or more individuals in over 40 parks in downtown Orlando within a two-mile radius of City Hall.

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The ordinance is driven by an institutional necessity to distance the homeless from the typical citizens so the local power structure can further gentrify the downtown Orlando area and consolidate wealth.

The ordinance is publicly recognized as “highly controversial” by all reporting media. It was spoken against at the summer of 06’s city council meeting by a ratio of 10-to-1 against the new policy. Those in support of the ordinance for economic segregation of our public parks just happen to be local big business profiteers who hold stronger political power among the local officials than the average citizen.

This arrest clearly contradicts an official city statement made in the Orlando Sentinel’s March 22 issue which reads–”police say an ordinance adopted last summer to end feeding the homeless in city parks is not being enforced until a court rules on its legality.”

Even while the ruling was not being physically enforced, months of police intimidation heightened in recent weeks of undercover and uniformed police officers photographically documenting the sharings and citing cars for stopping to unload food and supplies.
Eric Montanez was released on bond after defying the ban on “large group meals” at Lake Eola Park.

video here : http://www.wftv.com/news/11535261/detail.html

also visit : http://www.orlandofoodnotbombs.org

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