Florida's Rainbow Gathering

Florida’s Rainbow Gathering Drew the Attention of People across the Country, including Police

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The annual Rainbow Gathering happened this year in Ocala, and Farm Fresh Media traveled to Florida to participate.

Farm Fresh Media was at the gathering for four days, where many gathered together to share utopian impulses, bohemianism, hipster and hippie culture amongst each other.

While we were there, police showed up numerous times claiming crime was being committed by participants.

One of the participants was ticketed for following Ocala National Forest rules and regulations.

Joshua Hanson, who is with Jesus Kitchen and Nomads Island, tried to bury his feces, as the forestry website says to do.

“Bury all human and pet waste at least 6 inches deep and at least 100 feet away from any water source.”

Hanson did so, but was ticketed anyways.

Forest officers set up signs near the event advising that holes were not permitted to be made. 

Not allowing those attending the event to dig holes to bury their feces risks many health conditions to the event goers, officers, and others in the forest.

The post goes on to say that a request for a permit for porta potties was granted, but they never arrived.

They never arrived because porta potty companies will not deliver to the forest as they will get stuck in the sugar sand.

Hanson later reached out to officers, requesting more information on the ordinances that prevented them from digging. Officers told Hanson that they would reach back out with more information.

The officers never reached back out, according to one of his Facebook post.

Hanson decided to go to the forests office with 15 others dressed in jail clothing and diapers, in protest. 

He then again tried getting more information on the ordinances, which got the same response.

With no answer, they decided to not waste their trip and clean the waste near the office.

According to the Facebook post:

“In protest we did a roadside clean up in front of the forestry office which was trashed I might add.”

Hanson’s court date for the ticket was February 24 at 10 a.m..and he was given a continuance. He has said that he is planning on fighting it.

Rainbow gathering started in 1972 in Colorado, which lasted four days, and has since grown to a week long event.

The event is based on volunteerism and therefore, has no single person in charge. The events are run on a consensus process and no compensation is made to anyone that goes to spread awareness of a cause.

Depending on location and time of year, gatherings have reached up to 5,000 people. The most recent one in Ocala had around 300 people.

Originally gathers claimed they did not need a permit for the fact peaceful assembly is a right covered under the constitution. This worked until 1984, when forest services enacted a regulation that groups of 10 or more need a permit.

In 2008, there was a gathering that emassed to over 400 attendees. During the event, officers pointed weapons at children and used pepper balls against attendees. Police say that attendees threw sticks and stones at officers, but attendees disputed that.

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