Bond for five of those arrested is $250.00 each; however, they have elected to stay in jail until their first court appearance sometime tomorrow to see if they can be released on their own recognizance. Two of OFNB's lawyers already have met with the adult arrestees at the jail. Giralt, a juvenile, will be released to his parents' recognizance. About 40 people participated in the protest. It was held to denounce Dyer's policies towards homelessness in Orlando and his support of the City's "large group food sharings" ordinance (enacted in July 2006) which, essentially, bans giving away food inside more than three dozen parks in downtown Orlando. Orlando Food Not Bombs has found ways to circumvent the food sharing ban to the extreme displeasure of the Mayor and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan (the chief proponent of the ordinance) and continues to share inside Lake Eola Park every Wednesday. The ordinance was enacted owing to gentrification and development pressures in Orlando's Thornton Park and Lake Eola Heights neighborhoods.
This was the second Dyer fundraiser at which OFNB has staged a noisy, spirited protest and there is the possibility that today's arrests were politically motivated--revenge for the first anti-Dyer protest. That action, held on May 16 outside a business only a few hundred yards from where OFNB shares, received considerable media coverage. Hutchinson and Montanez are two of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit filed in October of 2006 against the City over the anti-homeless food sharing ordinance. That lawsuit is expected to come to trial in June of 2008. Montanez, on April 4, became the first person arrested under the anti-homeless food sharing ordinance. His trial on that charge will start on Sept. 10. OFNB member Matt Houston was trespassed from Lake Eola Park on May 9 when park rangers called police to break up the group's sharing, although his trespass warning was later rescinded.
OFNB's lawyers are reviewing whether the Orlando police properly applied the ordinance which they used to make the arrests.
Further updates will be released later.
For more information on Orlando Food Not Bombs, go to http://orlandofoodnotbombs.org
To contact Orlando Food Not Bombs: firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate to Orlando Food Not Bombs: make the check payable to Carrot and Fist Collective, Inc.
P.O. Box 540957
Orlando, FL 32854-0957