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OCCUPY ROCHESTER, N.Y.
Mayor forced to back off curfew
Published Nov 16, 2011 9:46 PM
Photo: Al Brundage
Occupy Rochester won a stunning victory on Nov. 9 when Mayor Tom Richards agreed to let protesters camp in Washington Square Park 24/7. This represented a complete reversal of his earlier policy of enforcing an 11 p.m. curfew at the park, which led to the arrest of 50 people. The mayor himself came to the park, renamed Liberation Square, accompanied by the chief of police to sign the agreement.
The mayor, a former CEO of Rochester Gas & Electric and a millionaire, was required to cool his heels in front of the TV cameras while the General Assembly proceeded with its agenda. Thus, he was forced to listen to a Latina woman who related how she and her family are about to be evicted from their foreclosed home and to a decision passed by Occupy Rochester to support physical resistance to the eviction.
The agreement with the mayor was negotiated by the local ACLU, which had previously announced its intention of filing a lawsuit contesting the legality of the 11 p.m. curfew on constitutional grounds.
On Nov. 11, Occupy Rochester held a Veterans Day march from Liberation Square to the Liberty Pole across from Bank of America. A large number of anti-war veterans attended, including Vets for Peace and Iraq Veterans against the War. They spoke to march participants about the abysmal treatment of veterans and the role of the banks in fomenting war. Many signs and speeches referred to Pfc. Bradley Manning, currently being held in solitary confinement in a military prison, charged with revealing documentary evidence of U.S. war crimes to the Wikileaks organization.
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