Police arrested seven people Saturday for reportedly feeding the homeless without a permit in Florida.
Tampa police had warned the people from the local Food Not Bombs chapter that they needed a permit to distribute food in a public park or face arrest, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The activists say that the amount of paperwork necessary for obtaining a permit is ridiculous and requires liability insurance of up to $1 million.
When the group refused to comply, police officers began arresting those who served food in Lykes Gaslight Square Park.
“We warned them: You set up table, chairs and everything, that’s against ordinance,” a police spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times. “We told them exactly what would happen. And that’s exactly what happened.”
The seven who were arrested were not jailed but were given notices to appear in court and then released.
Even though their event was shut down by the officers, the Food Not Bombs chapter said they have no intention of stopping their efforts to feed the homeless.
“[Food Not Bombs] has no plans to stop sharing food with the homeless and hungry and will continue to defy unjust laws that criminalize compassion and mutual aid,” the group said. “We intend to expose the city’s cruelty in the face of thousands in our community who are struggling with issues of food insecurity, mental and medical health issues, poverty, and homelessness.”
This isn’t the first time Tampa Police Department has cracked down on public feeding of the homeless.
In 2011, police stopped a different group that had been feeding the homeless for six years, according to TBO.com.
In 2004, Food Not Bombs activists were arrested for feeding the homeless at Herman Massey Park, the St. Petersburg Times reported.