Members of the animal rights group Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) are suing the city of Houston, Texas, US, and the Discovery Green Park in the city because they claim they were unlawfully arrested during one of their typical campaigning performances involving videos of standard animal agriculture practices.
Activists Faraz Harsini and Daraius Dubash are taking legal action with the help of Law & Religion Clinic at the University of Texas and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression
According to the complaint, on July 23, 2022, the activists were told to leave the public park because they were showing “offensive material” during their performance. Discovery Greens’s security approached Dubash and told him the park did not want the animal processing videos shown to the passing public. Eventually, two Houston police officers came and arrested Dubash, taking him to a Discovery Green park office, where he was placed on a chair, handcuffed and with his arms behind his back, for two to three hours. After spending a night in jail, Dubash was charged with misdemeanour criminal trespass, but the charge was later dropped.
It seems the July incident is the fourth time the group has been asked to leave a public area in Houston during a demonstration, the first one being in November 2021. This is despite the activists do not talk to passers-by unless they come to them, and they remain silent wearing masks throughout the demonstration, just holding screens showing videos of slaughterhouses and other forms of farm animal suffering that are still legal — which is the form AV demonstrations normally take all over the world.
Talking about what can be shown to the public, Dubash said, “The line today is no incitement of violence, no sexually obscene footage and no fighting words. To me, those seem (like) reasonable lines to have drawn.” Harsini said, “What we were showing is just standard legal practice.”