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Sep 25, 23

West Palm Beach, FL: Food Not Bombs Protests Attempts to Criminalize Mutual Aid and the Sharing of Free Food

Supporters of Food Not Bombs, an autonomous mutual aid group that serves free food in public places to poor and unhoused folks across the world, took to the streets in West Palm Beach, Florida to protest a recent ordinance which criminalizes the sharing of free food. In recent months, members of the group have been hit with tickets for sharing “unpermitted” meals with more than 25 people.

According to a report on Iron Snowflake:

On the 18th of September, activists furious about repeated ticketing of Food Not Bombs food share by West Palm Beach police gathered at City Hall, then marched through a commercial district.

These tickets carry fines of up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. This is an act of war on unhoused people, and an act of war on the entire activist community. Feeding unhoused people in an environment where business owners are trying to turn cities into shopping malls where anyone not making or spending money is considered a trespasser is a political attack.

On Instagram, West Memphis Food Not Bombs wrote of the ordinance:

Over 15 years sharing food in our community, never once requiring permit OR services from the city. It’s another way of sweeping out houseless folks from view of the tourist $$$. Food is a right – not a privilege.

According to Miami Antifascist Newsletter, “[West Palm Beach Food Not Bombs has] so far been issued 7 citations and have their first arraignment tomorrow.” They go on to mention however, that “Food Not Bombs Ft Lauderdale finally won their federal lawsuit against Ft Lauderdale for similar criminalization of sharing food,” and Food Not Bombs chapters across the US and beyond have a long history of fighting back against such attempts at criminalizing mutual aid.

photo via Instagram

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