Different Cities, Different Approaches To NY Occupy Movement

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The Occupy Wall Street movement faced increased pressure today as New York City and Albany cracked down on protesters camped in local parks.

But cities across the state have been handling the Occupy protesters differently.

In the city of Binghamton, protesters Monday marked their first month of encampment in a city-owned green space. Mayor Matthew Ryan said he has no plans to force their removal. There are about 17 tents set up in the park. (photo of scene, left)

“We have not required a permit as long as there are no issues related pertaining to safety, sanitation and access,” said city spokesman Andrew Block.

“We have monitored the site continually. That includes monitoring by police, fire, public works, the mayor’s office and the office of economic development, which are the businesses in the area.”

Block said participants of Occupy Binghamton “have been very cooperative in addressing concerns of the city as well as the neighbors in the surrounding area.”

In Rochester, the city and Occupy Rochester leaders reached an agreement last week to let protesters stay in a portion of the city-owned Washington Square Park through Jan. 11, but the agreement could be extended.

Initially, the city apprehended anyone who stayed in the park past 11 p.m., leading to 50 arrests over several days.

Unions are organizing a rally in the Rochester park at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to protest Cuomo’s plan to let higher income taxes on the wealthy expire at year’s end. The income-tax surcharge affects people who earn more than $200,000 a year and brought in about $4 billion a year in state revenue.

“Now it is time to return to our main message: that we are the 99%, that millionaires must pay their fair share, that corporations have become vastly too powerful, and that we must restore our country for all its people,” said Bruce Popper, executive vice-president of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, in a statement today.

While police have dismantled occupy protests in New York City, Albany and other cities, including Denver, Philadelphia, Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., the scene in Buffalo has been much different.

Occupy Buffalo protesters have been camped out at Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo since October. On Monday, a few dozen protesters marched down to Buffalo police headquarters to say thank you to police for letting them remain at the park.

They held signs that read, “Thank You” and “We Love Buffalo Police.”

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4 Comments

  1. As Americans, we are being subjected to a police state where dissidence is not being tolerated. These evictions exemplify the suppression of our civil liberties including the right to organize, one of the basis rights set forth by our founding fathers. Police brutality is running rampant under orders from Governors who have their pockets lined with Wall Street and Special Interest monies. Stand up and lend your voice to the global protest with the information sources and art listed on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/occupywallstreet.html

  2. This article is factually incorrect regarding Occupy Albany.

    Never did the police ‘dismantle’ the protest nor the camp. In fact, one could argue that police action actually amplified the protests.

    Occupy Albany’s location is special because the location of the tent city is in the city of Albany property and it abuts Lafayette park, which is state property. Governor Cuomo called on the State police to enforce an 11PM curfew on the State Side of the park while Occupants stood by.

    The arrests on the state side (which will probably be a nightly occurrence now) just go to show the utter ridiculousness of curfews in public spaces and imaginary lines.

    Be careful about doing better research next time. Occupy Albany has not been evicted, quite the opposite; the Albany Common Council passed a resolution supporting them and also did away with the curfew on the city side, so we’re technically allowed to be there 24/7 without breaking any laws. We’ve also been up-front and compliant regarding meetings with city officials and honoring their requests regarding generators, heaters and port-a-potties.