ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The same animal rights group that protested at a Chick-fil-A Tuesday also got into a heated confrontation with fishermen at Cresent Lake Park in St. Petersburg.
Bob Hope said what was supposed to be a quiet fishing day turned into a screaming debate about the Tilapia he and his father caught.
Vegan activists sent their son to approach Hope about the fish flopping on the ground.
“He came over and said ‘fish have feelings, you’re hurting that fish and you need to stop fishing,’” said Hope.
He said moments later, more activists showed up and threatened to throw the fish back.
“It got to the point where they said ‘we’re going to take your fish and throw it back in the water,’ and that’s when my mother and my father said, ‘no you can’t take our fish, that’s our fish.’”
A man with the group grabbed the fish and tossed it back.
The group claimed the fish was suffering.
“If this animal was a dog or a cat, we would be labeled heroes, but because we saved a fish, everybody is trying to make us out to be monsters,” said Kayla Leaming, media representative for Direct Action Everywhere.
The group stormed into the Chick-fil-A in Pinellas Park with fake knives and blood, demonstrating animal cruelty on Cow Appreciation Day Tuesday.
Leaming claims they were attacked at the restaurant.
She said they are a peaceful group with a message.
“I think no matter what we do, somebody is going to always be upset, I mean we’re changing the social norm. So yes, people are triggered.”
Hope said there’s a better way to spread an agenda.
“You do not have the right to thrust your beliefs upon another person, especially using physical altercations,” said Hope.
St. Petersburg police responded to the altercation in the park, but said no laws were broken.
The St. Petersburg Police Department issued the following statement:
“When the officer arrived, the protesters were already getting in their cars. The primary concern for the officer was to restore the peace and the officer didn’t witness any disorderly conduct or criminal activity. The officer documented the call as well as the names, addresses, and auto tag numbers of the principal protesters. Whether one agrees with the message or not, any group has a right to free speech in a public park. The officer acted appropriately under the circumstances.”
The organization is also protesting against Costco and their pig farms.
No word yet if the group plans to demonstrate at a local store.