Protesters Threaten to Disrupt Christmas on Las Olas Because of Homeless Laws

Protesters Threaten to Disrupt Christmas on Las Olas Because of Homeless Laws
Photo by Alex Markow

For the past few weeks, the City of Fort Lauderdale has garnered bad press around the world for enacting ordinances that aim to crack down on the city's homeless population.

Although the initial outrage has somewhat blown over, some protesters are vowing to dig in and fight the ordinances for the long haul, in hopes they will be revoked. Jillian Pim, an activist with Food Not Bombs, is now on her 24th day of a hunger strike, and three people have since joined her.

Also, some are threatening to hurt the city economically. Activists claiming association with Anonymous have called for boycotts, and now, a campaign called "Christmas Is Cancelled" threatens to disrupt Christmas on Las Olas, a big annual winter celebration for the city. It has been a tradition for 52 years, and this year's event is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 2.

A Facebook page announcing that "Christmas Is Cancelled in Ft lauderdale" calls for people to call and complain to Premier Beverage and Easy 93.1, the sponsors of Christmas on Las Olas.

It also says:

The Las Olas Company is probably one of the best examples of what is wrong with Fort Lauderdale. This development firm owns 85% of the stores on Las Olas Boulevard. It's President is Michael Weymouth, who is also Co-Chair to the Downtown Development Authority and married to an FLPD officer assigned to downtown. They are the direct link between these stores profiting off "Christmas on Las Olas" and the people who created the sharing ban. Tell these plutocrats #christmasiscancelled !!! 954-463-5630

New Times left a message for Weymouth late Monday.

Asked for more details, Food Not Bombs activist Nathan Pim (husband of Jillian) explained via email:

"'Christmas Is Cancelled' is being done by people who are supporting Jill's hunger strike, including myself. It will probably include doing something at xmas on las olas and if this continues the boat show and new years. For now there are not any further details. I should stress that we do not expect to totally shut down such festivities, which would probably only be possible using some kind of dangerous, extreme act, but we do expect cut into these businesses' holiday season profits by dissuading people from participating with them, using direct action. Plans also are in a bit of a flux with all the court cases and change in enforcement tactics happening."

Last night, City Commissioner Dean Trantalis held a town hall on the issue, and the ordinances now face a legal challenge.

Here's a link to New Times' comprehensive coverage of Fort Lauderdale's homeless controversy.


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