Four Arrested in Protest at GEO Headquarters: Activists From Transgender and Womyn's Group Block Doors UPDATED
UPDATE 10:44 a.m. Boca Raton police spokesman Mark Economou said four people were arrested at GEO Group corporate headquarters this morning. "They chained themselves to the doors of the building," he said, but "the locking mechanism has been removed."
Though activists Tweeted a photo showing at least six activists on the scene, Economou said that he did not expect further arrests and that police would release more information later today.
Original story 10:15 a.m. They're here, they're queer -- actually, they're "female, transgender, transsexual, gender queer and gender variant" -- and they've had it up to here with the GEO Group, the world's largest private prison operator.
In a scene from a straight white conservative businessman's worst nightmare, dozens of activists from a recent weeklong gathering called Trans and Womyn's Action Camp (TWAC) said they would risk arrest as they staged a protest at the notorious human rights abuser's facilities this morning.
Protesters at GEO Group this morning.
A political and social phenomenon that arose among communities affiliated with America's radical environmentalist and anarchist groups, TWAC activists gathered in the North Florida woods recently to brainstorm and celebrate and will meet again in July in the Pacific Northwest. Today's action against the GEO Group draws on participants from the Florida camp and is spurred to a certain extent by the company's recent, ill-conceived adventure in advertising, the FAU football field naming rights fiasco.
Student-led protests and a wide-ranging public relations counter-campaign that focused national attention on GEO Group's scandalous history forced the company to cancel the $6 million deal. But according to TWAC:
Pulling out of the stadium deal doesn't get them off the hook. Cancelling the contract does nothing to change GEO's long record of human rights abuse of detainees at taxpayer expense, nor does it diminish GEO's profit-driven influence on legislation that increases criminalization of offenses which has resulted in millions of people behind bars, record deportation rates, and longer jail sentences.
TWAC claims a particular interest in GEO Group because, it alleges:
GEO [has a] pivotal role in promoting discriminatory laws that target people of color, immigrants, youth, transgender individuals and the poor... Prisons and immigrant detention centers, GEO's primary investments, target poor people, people of color, and transgender individuals. As female and transgender organizers, we are more vulnerable to violence within these institutions.
Organizers have promised costumes and theater and possible arrests to bring attention to their cause. Follow the protest on Twitter via the hashtag #dropGEO.
Also: Earth First is reporting that there were 40 protesters outside the GEO building. More info and photos from the scene are here.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes fatal bite -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.