FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — For the eighteenth week in a row, demonstrators gathered outside of the Tower Theatre to protest its potential sale to Adventure Church. The difference this week is that Adventure Church was back inside the theatre hosting service for the first time since February.
“Today they are there knowingly breaking the law,” said Jaguar Bennett from the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee.
Protestors of the sale say they plan on reporting today’s service to code enforcement as a zoning violation.
“The city must enforce the zoning laws. The Tower Theatre is not zoned for public or religious assembly,” Bennett said.
In an interview on Friday, Adventure Church pastor Anthony Flores said he was not concerned about being reported to code enforcement.
“We’re excited to be back,” he said.
Roughly three weeks ago, in response to rising tensions at the protests, Mayor Jerry Dyer and Police Chief Paco Balderrama said they would increase police presence and create barricades between demonstrators from opposing sides. Some members of the Save the Tower Theatre Committee say they believe it worked for a few weeks, but now the police have backed off and more protestors have returned.
“We expected the city to follow through and enforce separation for the safety of everyone, but what we’re seeing today is something very different from that,” said Tyler Mackey, the Executive Director for the Tower District Marketing Committee.
The sale of the theatre is still pending, and demonstrators say a court date is expected to be set in the next month.