Seven activists were arrested for feeding cold and hungry homeless people in a Tampa city park on Saturday afternoon.
Florida police say that they made the arrests because the group did not have a permit to serve the food.
The volunteers from ‘Food Not Bombs’ were aware that their actions were technically illegal, but putting compassion first they decided to pass out food anyway and say they will continue to do so.
Authorities were reportedly cracking down on the homelessness in order to clean up before a college football national championship, which was due to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Monday.
But Food Not Bombs has served food in the same park more than 100 times without problems, according to cltampa.com.
Local critics suggest officials are cracking down on the practice due to several sporting events being hosted by the city this week including the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played Monday at Raymond James Stadium between the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide.
So they would rather not have the less fortunate gathered in highly visible places for their visiting guests.
Activists with Food Not Bombs were warned earlier in the week, so they knew their actions were illegal.
They fed the homeless anyway.
Some of the activists arrested were still wearing plastic gloves they use for sanitary purposes to serve the food.
When police arrived, they gave the activists three minutes to stop serving food to the needy.
Video taken by someone at the event shows some volunteers ignored the threats and continued serving food, even as their fellow volunteers were being arrested.
“Please help yourselves,” one says to his comrades who are still serving food just before they are placed in cuffs.
Tampa cops arrested one man who reached for a bagel to snack on.
After being arrested, the group sent an email to the press Saturday night stating it “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.”
Food Not Bombs plans on gathering in the same location to feed the homeless again at 8 a.m. this Tuesday.
“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,” a spokesperson for Food Not Bombs wrote in an email.