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Thursday, July 07, 2022

UF student arrested while protesting circus

A UF student was arrested Thursday afternoon while protesting outside the Cole Bros. Circus.

Matt Hunt, a second-year student, was arrested just before 4 p.m. in The Oaks Mall parking lot by a Gainesville Police Department officer.

He was arrested for trespassing on private property, an arrest report stated.

The Oaks Mall security staff repeatedly asked Hunt to leave, but he refused, the report stated.

Hunt told GPD Officer Jeffery McAdams that he would not leave and would have to be arrested, the report stated. He was arrested without incident.

"It was originally just a silent protest," Hunt said. "I would have been happy just turning some people away from the circus."

Hunt said he turned about 12 people away.

Elephants are transported in trailers and are shocked for discipline, he said. But Renee Storey, vice president of administration for Cole Bros. Circus, said last week that tools used for training elephants are not used for punishment.

Storey could not be reached for comment on the arrest by press time.

Hunt said he is not allowed on the mall premises for a year.

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