New Olympics protest group forms

Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics, a new local group protesting Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid, recently formed.

The group held its first meeting June 11 in Jamaica Plain, and its first protest event June 13 at Franklin Park, where members posed with hobby horses in mockery of Olympic equestrian events planned there. However, the group also drew a complaint from the Franklin Park Coalition for chalking a protest message on a White Stadium wall.

“A Boston 2024 Olympics would have a devastating impact on JP, Roxbury, Dorchester, Franklin Park, the whole city,” said JP resident Chris Hoeh in an email announcing the new group. “Our community stopped the freeway. We will help stop the Olympics and build for the city we need.”

The “freeway” refers to a plan to run I-95 through JP and other Boston neighborhoods, which was fought off by local activists. The route instead became the Southwest Corridor Park and MBTA/Amtrak rail lines.

Hoeh has been active in the NoBoston2024 anti-Olympics protest movement, which held its first meeting in JP last year. FPASBO is separate from NoBoston2024 and the organization No Boston Olympics, but supports their perspectives.

Hoeh calls for “locally based resistance” to the Olympics bid, which is proposed by the private nonprofit Boston 2024 in concert with the City of Boston. The protest group’s initial organizing will focus on a June 30 JP meeting about the bid being held by Boston 2024 and the City. About 30 people have joined the FPASBO effort so far, Hoeh said.

Some FPASBO members held a small protest at White Stadium—a potential Olympic venue—on June 13. Afterward, they issued photos and a satirical press release in the name of the “Imperial Oligarchs’ Committee”—a parody of the International Olympic Committee, the Swiss organization that runs the Olympics.

The protesters wrote “IOC PROPERTY” on an exterior stadium wall in large, multi-color chalk letters. The slogan refers to the IOC taking over the publicly owned stadium for the Olympics, as well as the IOC’s ability to override local laws during the Olympics, the group’s press release says.

But FPASBO acknowledged in its own press release that a passer-by “questioned the legality” of the group’s protest graffiti. And the Franklin Park Coalition, the park’s nonprofit friends group that is still figuring out its own stance on the Olympics bid, is not happy about the graffiti, either.

“How can you deface Franklin Park and claim to want to protect it?” the FPC wrote in a June 16 tweet that included a photo of the graffiti.

Hoeh earlier told the Gazette that the chalk can be washed away. He did not immediately respond to further questions about the FPC complaint.

Meantime, FPASBO plans to hold an open organizing meeting on June 23 at JP’s Spontaneous Celebrations. It also has a website at franklinparkstopolympics.wordpress.com.

A screenshot of a tweet sent by the Franklin Park Coalition criticizing Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics’ White Stadium protest graffiti.

A screenshot of a tweet sent by the Franklin Park Coalition criticizing Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics’ White Stadium protest graffiti.

Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics members (from left) Isaac Hoeh, Chris Hoeh, Hussein Bashir, Cole Rainey-Slavick and Sarah Slavick pose with hobby horses during a June 13 anti-Olympics protest at Franklin Park. (Courtesy Photo)

Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics members (from left) Isaac Hoeh, Chris Hoeh, Hussein Bashir, Cole Rainey-Slavick and Sarah Slavick pose with hobby horses during a June 13 anti-Olympics protest at Franklin Park. (Courtesy Photo)

1 comment for “New Olympics protest group forms

  1. Chris Hoeh
    June 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Here is the response to the request for comment that I received from Mr. Ruch, unfortunately he didn’t receive it in time.

    Members
    of the Imperial Oligarchs’ Committee deliberately chose to use
    impermanent chalk to protest the permanent destruction that a Boston
    Olympics would have on Franklin Park and Massachusetts. We hope that the
    FPC will support us in our fight to protect the park and the city from
    the dangers of Boston 2024. In addition to our work to defend the
    Franklin Park area from an Olympics, members will continue to
    participate in FPC clean-ups and we are pursuing other ways to partner
    with FPC on park maintenance efforts. These plans will be discussed at
    our open meeting on Tuesday, June 23 from 7 to 8:30 at Spontaneous
    Celebrations.

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