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Three arrested for feeding Fla. homeless

June 2, 2011 at 12:18 PM

ORLANDA, Fla., June 2 (UPI) -- Members of a Florida group feeding homeless people in an Orlando park were arrested for violating a city ordinance, authorities said.

Three members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday on a charge of violating an ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The ordinance requires groups to apply for a permit and limits each group to two permits a year for each city park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall, the newspaper said.

Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson, 49, and Jonathan "Keith" McHenry, 54, were arrested after feeding about 40 homeless people in Lake Eola Park.

Orlando Food Not Bombs has been feeding breakfast on Mondays and dinner on Wednesdays to the homeless for five years while engaged in a court battle over the ordinance, group spokesman Douglas Coleman said.

The group lost the court case in April, allowing the city to begin enforcing the ordinance.

"They basically carted them off to jail for feeding hungry people," Coleman said. "For them to regulate a time and place for free speech and to share food, that is unacceptable."

Police waited until everyone was served to make the arrests, he said.

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