Harry Belafonte and a group of activists at the Florida capitol to protest the stand your ground law were denied food deliveries by state officials, sparking unrest among the group.
Belafonte joined the Dream Defenders in Tallahassee to call for the end of the stand your ground law, a controversial measure that allows for deadly force to be used in reaction to a perceived threat to life. It is the law cited when George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.
The protesters want a special session of Florida’s legislature to repeal the law, and have taken to the capitol to protest in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal.
The Dream Defenders, made up mostly of college students, have been outside Governor Rick Scott’s office since thee days after the not guilty verdict. Their cause was bolstered this week when Harry Belafonte, the singer and activist, joined the cause.
But the protesters quickly grew angry when state officials denied after-hours delivery of food to the capitol, which many viewed as an attempt to starve them out.
State officials deny the charge, saying the protesters agreed to rules that no outsiders would be allowing in the building after 5 pm on Fridays.
“Our rules haven’t changed since the beginning of the protest,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Despite the food stoppage, protesters seemed to be invigorated by the addition of Harry Belafonte. On Saturday he called on Governor Scott to act on the law before the situation becomes “ungovernable.”
“At the moment all of this is governable, all of this is in a place where it can be debated and analyzed and discussed in a very peaceful, calm, productive way,” Belafonte said.
The Dream Defenders also appear ready to remain at the capitol until action is taken.
“I’m prepared to spend a whole month, a whole season… I’m prepared to be here till next legislative session if that’s necessary,” said Ciara Taylor of the Dream Defenders.
Harry Belafonte has spoken out on a number of causes and is a noted Civil Rights activist, having marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s.