October 30, 2011 by staff
“I’m very happy,” said protest organizer Michelle Williams. “My heart is smiling with joy … only a few, only a few … we have much to say, ‘You know what? When is enough, let’s do something about it.’”
Williams and another half dozen carried placards to protest the MMA fight because they say it promotes violence just weeks after the murder of Leslie Jones Jr. inside the Empire Club. Jones family and friends were even more upset because the promotional materials for the fight had two monkeys holding guns.
Just an hour before the doors began opening, Tampa fire marshals said the promoters of events that do not have the permissions necessary to maintain the struggle within the Empire Club. Protesters said 10 News was his involvement that led to the investigation by the fire chief.
The last minute change MMA organizers pushed to be out, directing viewers to a different place. “From our understanding, there were some demonstrators who protested against this particular building to the events. They are trying to turn it off,” says James Highlander MMA.
Michelle Williams said: “I’m not even sorry for what he can not hold this event here tonight, because the owner of this club does not deserve to make a dollar.”
Although Empire Club is still open, against the protest of the Jones family, the cancellation of tonight represents a small victory for the mother of Leslie Jones, Sharon. “That’s wonderful,” Sharon told us. “That’s a step ahead. But as [club owners] know, I’ll keep fighting because I want it closed, and I will not stop until you close it.”
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