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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 8, August 2012, Posted On: 7/10/2012

'Million Gulp March' Protests Bloomberg Soda Limits

Emily Jed
NYC Liberty HQ, Drink Free Or Die, supersized sugary drinks, National Automatic Merchandising Association, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, Bloomberg soda ban

NEW YORK CITY -- About 1,000 protesters rallied against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on supersized sugary drinks yesterday in what has been dubbed the "Million Gulp March."

The march on City Hall, organized by NYC Liberty HQ, assembled business owners, local politicians and others against Bloomberg's proposal. The marchers' mantra was "Drink Free Or Die."

Aimed at lowering the city's rising obesity rates, the measure would prohibit restaurants, delis, concessions, food carts and other city venues from selling sweetened drinks in containers bigger than 16 fluid ounces.

Critics say the ban would infringe on personal freedom and unfairly hurt businesses. The National Automatic Merchandising Association, which represents the vending machine industry, and the National Association of Concessionaires are among the groups that have joined New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a coalition formed to oppose the measure. | SEE STORY

New York City's Board of Health unanimously approved the measure last month and it is now in a 90-day public comment period. Testimony will be heard at a public hearing on July 24. | SEE STORY

At a press conference, Bloomberg was asked about the demonstration and he replied, "If you want to kill yourself, I guess you have a right to do it. We're trying to do something about that. We've got to do something about this but they can have a march and they can make a joke out of it but there's a story in the Post today where the hospitals are having to increase the size of their gurneys and strengthen them -- they can't even handle the patients some of [them] are so heavy."

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