Computer hacker collective Anonymous took down Fort Lauderdale’s website Monday, taking aim at the city's ordinance that bans feeding the homeless outdoors.
The city of Fort Lauderdale’s homepage was not accessible for hours Monday afternoon. In addition, the mayor's political site, jackseiler.com, was also knocked out, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler's assistant Safeea Maloney told NBC News.
"It certainly isn't about doing good work or good deeds in the community; it's a group trying to disrupt things," said Mayor Seiler.
The downed websites came less than 24 hours after Anonymous issued a threat to the city to overturn several ordinances dealing with the homeless or see the city’s home page and other pages hacked.
The city of Fort Lauderdale said when the Anonymous attack began, they took down the website as a precaution.
Anonymous called the latest volley in the fight over the city’s homeless laws “Operation Lift the Bans.” The group posted a YouTube video in which a person in a Guy Fawkes mask used a computer-generated voice to issue the following statement.
“Hello, citizen of the world and Fort Lauderdale. It has come to our attention that Mayor John Seiler has become an embarrassment to the law abiding citizens of Fort Lauderdale, arresting Arnold Abbot, who is 90 years old and served our country, for feeding the homeless. You are a disgrace, Mayor John Seiler. So therefore, we have a list of demands, and if not met, then we shall shut down the main site of Fort Lauderdale, among other sites. Our demands are to lift the ordinance C-14-38, which makes panhandling illegal at busy intersections for not only homeless but also charities; C14-41, which makes it illegal for anyone to sleep in public in the downtown area; and C14-42, which prohibits citizens from being able to hand out food unless certain requirements are met. You have 24 hours or less, depending on whether this reaches you, Mayor John Seiler — 24 hours to comply with our demands or the site will be shut down, along with other sites belonging to Fort Lauderdale. Operation Lift the Bans engaged. We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. You should have expected this, Mayor John Seiler.”
"There is no celebration or achievement or anything like that," said Steve Grant, a member of Anonymous. "It's just consistency. Anonymous is a non-violent, peaceful collective. It doesn't mean we can't be aggressive."
Anonymous made headlines last year when it helped expose the cover-up of a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio.