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News :: Gentrification
Three Arrested Protesting at Whole Foods Meeting
03 Jun 2011
A meeting in Jamaica Plain between representatives of Whole Foods and Jamaica Plain residents ended in chaos yesterday. Boston Police shut down the meeting early after arresting three people for displaying banners.
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The meeting, at the Curley School on Centre Street, was an attempt by Whole Foods to convince JP residents of the benefits of having a Whole Foods store in the old Hi-Lo location in Hyde Square. Members of Whole Foods managerial team spoke at length about what a great place Whole Foods is to shop, and bragged about actions like donating food to local schools.

Whole Foods' move into JP is being opposed by a neighborhood-based grassroots group called Whose Foods. Alarmed by the so-called Whole Foods effect - the wave of gentrification that Whole Foods stores tend to touch off wherever they appear - Whose Foods mobilized over 100 people to voice their protest at the meeting. Wearing light blue T-shirts with the slogan "I Support an Affordable and Diverse JP," Whose Foods' supporters held up signs in silent protest as Whole Foods officials began their presentation. Proponents of an expensive and white JP were also present, but in fewer numbers.

The protests escalated abruptly when two individuals appeared in the balcony and hung a banner from the rail reading "Displacement: What is Whole Foods Going To Do About It?" Whose Foods supporters erupted in cheers and applause, and the presentation was delayed for several minutes. Later on, during the question and answer period, some people attempted to display a banner reading "One Meeting Is Not Enough," but it was confiscated by police after a tug-of-war. The commotion prompted police shut down the meeting early.

Three people were arrested in connection with the banners, Andrew Murray, Chloe Frankel, and Peter Blaiklock. They were held at the JP police station for a few hours, before being released into the arms of a raucous crowd of friends and supporters who had gathered in front of the station. Arrestees were informed they would be summonsed for one count each of disrupting a public assembly.
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This work is in the public domain.
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