Orlando police arrested five more activists from behind a makeshift buffet table at Lake Eola Park on Wednesday evening, bringing to a dozen the number charged in the past week with violating city restrictions on feeding the homeless.
The members of the group Food Not Bombs were ladling out corn on the cob, rice, beans and watermelon to about 35 people when they were handcuffed. About two dozen activists and homeless people booed and chanted «Food is a right, not a privilege» as they were loaded into a waiting police van.
They were violating a controversial city ordinance that prohibits sharing food with large groups in a downtown city park more than twice a year. Food Not Bombs has been fighting the ordinance but lost a legal appeal in April, clearing the way for the city to begin enforcement.
The five arrested — Nick Emery, Tommy Frain, Thomas Hellinger, Kyle Trailies and Fischer Williams — ranged in age from 17 to 27.
The arrests follow four on Monday and three last week. Despite the arrests, Food Not Bombs members say they’ll continue their twice-weekly feedings at Orlando’s signature park to bring attention to what they consider an unjust law.
The local members are getting support from like-minded activists outside the city, as well. Two of those arrested, Emery and Frain, are members of a Food Not Bombs chapter in Tarpon Springs.
«It’s important for people to come out and risk arrest and do whatever it takes,» Emery said. «Food is a right.»