On New Year’s Eve, Activists Plan to Bang Pots and Pans at Broward County Jail

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Grayson Flory will not be spending New Year’s Eve sipping Champagne in his swankiest outfit. Instead, the 28-year-old activist will be making as much noise as possible on the sidewalk outside of the Broward County Jail. Scores of other activists are expected to join him with pots, pans, drums, megaphones, and soundmakers.

“New Year’s Eve is a day of celebration, but someone in a detention center doesn’t get to celebrate,” Flory explains. “This is a way of showing solidarity. It’s a way of saying, ‘Hey, you’re not alone in there. People are thinking of you.’”

It’s all part of a much larger demonstration being held at jails, prisons, and detention centers across the world this New Year’s Eve. There will be events in New York City, Durham, Quebec, London, and other cities. Flory believes this will be the first noise demonstration at the Broward County Jail.

Holding noise demonstrations outside prisons and jails is a tradition among anarchists and activists, especially on New Year’s Eve. For them, it’s a way of showing compassion to prisoners while also protesting the prison-industrial complex. As the popular anticapitalist site Insurrection News puts it: “a noise demo breaks the isolation and alienation of the cells our enemies create… Prison has a long history of being one of the most archaic forms of prolonged torture and punishment.”

Flory and local activists agree. To them, it’s not about the prisoners' crimes but about being trapped in an unfair system. “Prisons do not work as rehabilitation, just a form of punishment,” Flory says. “The prison system is inherently violent, racist, transphobic, classist, and very counterproductive to having a just society.”

It will be hypocritical, Flory explains, for police to interfere with the demonstration. “It’s New Year's Eve in downtown Fort Lauderdale. There will be people making much more noise with fireworks, much later than us,” he says. “We’re also on public property.”

Since the Broward County Jail is located within earshot of the road and sidewalk, Flory expects the prisoners to be able to hear them. “We wanted to be sure that we’d be close enough for the prisoners, so they could hear us." 

Everyone is welcome to attend the noise demonstration, Flory says. They will be meeting at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve outside of the Broward County Jail, located at 555 SE First Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Flory expects they will make as much noise as possible for about two hours.  

“We’re going to be following all the laws we know about,” Flory says.

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