‘Say no to private prisons’ protesters arrested at investor conference in Boca Raton

By | 01.25.12 | 8:37 am

An Occupy Fort Lauderdale poster advertising the anti-GAIM protest (Pic via Facebook)

Three protesters who took part in a national day of action to call on participants of the 2012 Global Alternative Investments Management (GAIM) conference to divest from private prisons were arrested Tuesday.

A press release issued by Occupy Miami explains that “two members of Occupy Miami and a member of the Palm Beach County Coalition for Immigrant Rights were arrested Tuesday after participating in a direct action inside the Boca Raton Resort and Club,” where the GAIM conference, a major investor industry event, is currently being held.

According to the GAIM conference website, “each year 500 plus members of the industry, representing key decision makers at many of the most influential investment institutions in the world, gather to determine where the investment opportunity lies in the year ahead and gain timely updates on important changes impacting the investment industry.”

Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, executive director of Enlace, told The Florida Independent that the arrested activists were “trying to address a number of people in the conference to urge them to divest from private prison stock because of the abuse of immigrants, particularly immigrant women who are victims of rape and sexual abuse that is rampant throughout the system in the country.”

“Pretty much all the major investors were present, and they were putting out the message urging them to divest from the private prison industry and invest them elsewhere, following the lead of the United Methodist Church,” Cervantes-Gautschi said.

Enlace, an “alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations in Mexico and in the U.S.” organized the national day of action across the U.S. to demand that Wells Fargo and FMR/Fidelity, major investors in the private prison companies The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, “abandon their roles in the nation’s rapidly expanding for-profit immigrant detention system.”

The Pension Board of the United Methodist Church announced earlier this month “that it has divested all of its Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group holdings.”

According to the Florida Immigrant Coalition,

some of the investment managers attending this Conference control over 51% of The Geo Group’s stock, and over 40% of CCA’s stock. The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are the two largest private prison companies in the United States. These two companies have strong ties with Florida: GEO has its headquarters in Boca Raton, FL; CCA plans to build a for-profit immigration prison in Southwest Ranches, FL, which could be one of the largest in the country.

The Florida Independent has reported extensively on opposition to the federally funded and privately managed immigration detention center set to be built in South Florida.

Three demonstrators from the Occupy movements of Palm Beach and Miami were arrested Monday evening after they blocked the Camino Real bridge in Boca Raton to protest the GAIM conference.

Follow Marcos Restrepo on Twitter


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