by Garret Ean
July 6, 2011
From Concord, to DC, to Orlando, Independence day was marked a number of ways by liberty activists. In DC, yet another successful (meaning no arrests) IndepenDANCE Day party was held at the Jefferson memorial. The importance of recurring Jefferson Dance Party events is to set a precedent, that the people will not accept the court ruling prohibiting free, silent expression at the memorial of a champion of freedom of expression.
Video will likely be popping up soon at jeffersondanceparty.info. Despite park police bringing out armored cars, machine guns, and creating TSA-style security checkpoints for access to the memorial, dancers were not deterred from celebrating their independence at the state’s shrine to the declaratory document’s author. The twitter updates provided by boots on the ground tell the story. See the text updates at: http://twitter.com/#!/TJDanceParty
In Orlando, John Kurtz and Keith McHenry remain in jail on separate charges. John was convicted of “Resisting without violence” after he was arrested for filming the police brutalizing a handcuffed man. His video was destroyed by police, and despite contradicting testimony on the part of the officers, he was still found guilty. Keith McHenry, co-founder of the international activism franchise Food Not Bombs was arrested while feeding the hungry in Lake Eola Park on June 1, and then re-arrested June 22 when he returned to the public park for “trespassing”.
You can write to John and Keith here: Johannes Michael Germankurtz
P.O. Box 4970
Orlando, FL 32802-4970 Released! Jonathan Keith McHenry
P.O. Box 4970
Orlando, FL 32802-4970 Released! 7/9/2011
Chalkings relating to activities in Orlando have appeared downtown.
Posted at Orlando Copwatch July 4 is a short video that demonstrates the perceived authority that some police in Orlando believe that they have. At what appears to be a protest against Scientology, police threaten demonstrators with arrest first for being on private property, then for being on the sidewalk. When a protester politely inquires with the police as to why they must move from private property that they have permission to be on, the officer implies that they are assumed to be trespassing unless owner informs police himself that the gathering is allowed. When the young man tries to show police the actual laws that they claim he is violating and are threatening to arrest him under, they roll up their window and drive away. Why is there an assumption of trespassing? Why do the police use profanity against cordial citizens? Why are protesters being targeted by police in Orlando? Maybe Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer could answer these questions. You can reach his office at (407) 246-2221.
Locally, the fireworks display at Memorial Field was well attended as always. On the sidewalks around the entrance to the field were liberty themed messages.
7/7/2011: Food Not Bombs had a successful food sharing on the steps of city hall on Independence Day. Rawstory reports:
…Ben Markeson, the media liaison for Orlando’s Food Not Bombs, told Raw Story in an interview Tuesday that they made the decision to move their event due to the throngs of people who flock to Lake Eola every year on Independence Day — and to remind the mayor of a seemingly forgotten promise.
“What happened was, Mayor [Buddy] Dyer was quoted as saying that he offered to let Food Not Bombs gather at City Hall any time they like, and he’d donate some of the peppers he grows on his mayoral balcony to the chili pot,” Markeson said. “So, we wanted to see if he would live up to his word.”
Markeson added that while mayor did not make an appearance on Monday, they were not harassed by police and “at least 100” people turned out for oatmeal, grits, pancakes, potatoes, bread and coffee.
He also said that City Hall had not been used in the past because it lacks easy access to basic sanitation facilities, unlike the public park which has running water outdoors.
The group’s mission has, since their arrests last month, gained some seemingly powerful allies in the form of “Anonymous” hackers who’ve launched a campaign against a series of Orlando websites in an effort to raise awareness of how the city treated Food Not Bombs.
Anonymous toppled the websites of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, the Orlando International Airport, Orlando’s fraternal Order of Police, the mayor’s reelection site and two popular tourist and events websites featuring the city’s attractions.
They also sent an image of Walt Disney mascot Mickey Mouse, face covered by a Guy Fawkes mask, to tens of thousands of fax machines and Orlando-based email addresses — inspiring the mayor to call them “terrorists.”
Markeson’s reaction to Anonymous was not as extreme as the mayor’s, and he chose instead to point back at City Hall for “trying to criminalize poverty.”
“We feel that what [Anonymous is] doing is a distraction to dealing with the real issues,” he said. “The real issues here are very simple: We have a city that’s trying to stop people from sharing food in public parks to meet a community need. We have a mayor who’s trying to criminalize poverty.
Food Not Bombs participants have returned to Lake Eola Park as their primary serving venue. At the Wednesday (7/6) feeding, there were three “trespassing” arrests. Video coming soon from Orlando Copwatch.
Earlier today, a press release was posted on Orlando Copwatch relating to a potential appeal in John Kurtz’s “Resisting without violence” case. To appeal, John is facing legal fees in the tens of thousands of dollars. The potential for fundraising will determine whether or not he will pursue an appeal. See the release here:
7/14/2011: DC A video utilizing multiple angles for source footage from activists experiencing ‘Access Point/Checkpoint’ police barriers appeared on July 12. ID is initially demanded of those with cameras, recordings are requested off, machine guns are brought out, but ultimately the dance succeeds.