A protest group has formed in St Augustine; supported by some familiar names to Historic City News readers. The organization, Resist 450, have an Internet website and they are engaged in a grassroots campaign to stop celebrating genocide.
The City of St. Augustine’s 450th Commemoration calendar of events is no place to be recognizing “Spanish War Criminals” Juan Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez, according to a spokesman on the group’s website, resist450.wordpress.com
“They committed horrific war crimes against innocent Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples throughout Florida, across Island Communities and beyond,” the website proclaims. “This is an issue for all races and people of conscious. They must not be commemorated, celebrated, or honored.”
The Resist 450 group, supporters of the Council of the Original Miccosukee Seminole Nation Aboriginal Peoples, the American Indian Movement of Florida, and Ancient Trees, began reaching out in 2012 for support in resisting both the Viva Florida 500 and the St. Augustine 450 Celebrations.
“There will never be the healing of nations or peace as long as people choose to honor and celebrate war criminals who committed crimes against humanity,” a spokesman for the group reported.
The organizers say that they will be hosting an action camp near St. Augustine to oppose events that celebrate Pedro Menendez de Aviles at the St. Augustine 450th Anniversary Commemoration, September 5th-9th, 2015.
The city celebration events culminate on Tuesday, September 8th, with a re-enactment of the landing of Pedro Menendez de Aviles on the shores of St. Augustine.
In 2013, the Viva Florida 500 Celebration, which honored Juan Ponce de Leon for his discovery of Florida for the King of Spain, was met with resistance by members of the group. “We hope to continue this opposition to the glorification of colonial criminals,” the website states.
Also scheduled around these dates is the US-Spain Council International Summit, where more than 200 council members converge to discuss the advancement of Spanish-American relations in economic development, energy, defense, cultural advancement and other areas.
Among the 200, the protesters say we can expect US Senators and congressmen, ambassadors to Spain and the United States, and the royal couple from Spain — King Felipe and his wife Queen Letizia.