In the Middle of Negotiating New Agreement, City Raids Occupy Buffalo

Occupy Buffalo in Niagara Square (Photo taken January 25)

“Now there’s pollution where there once was something beautiful.” – @BootsofSolidarity, Buffalo occupier

The city had police move on Occupy Buffalo early in the morning after it decided not to renew the occupation’s permit for Niagara Square. At least ten were arrested and tents and personal property were bulldozed. Occupiers had been offered an agreement which they turned down. After midnight, they were in Niagara Square without a permit but the city could have continued to negotiate with Occupy Buffalo and chose to carry out an eviction instead.

The action began to unfold around 1:30 am ET. Police surrounded the square.

A broadcast from @BootsofSolidarity on UStream shows a Buffalo police chief asking who was in the “leadership” at Occupy Buffalo.” The occupiers said, “We have a lot of shared leadership.”

“I need a leader. Or someone you want as a leader that you’ll take direction from,” the chief replied.

A peacekeeper stepped up to be the “leader.” The chief walked over to talk to the peacekeeper in private. The streamer followed him into the street that surrounds the Square. He asked the peacekeeper to have the streamer back away.

The peacekeeper for Occupy Buffalo came back to the sidewalk of the Square with a “mic check.”

“For the people who want to be sure not to get arrested they should move over on to Court St,” the peacekeeper stated. “People who are willing or prepared to get arrested should congregate right here.” She added, “The tents and the other things are all going to be collected up by the officers. Then they will be available tomorrow.”

Occupiers then expressed interest in going in to remove their personal property and wanted to know if that was possible. An officer said, “I think we can certainly accommodate you who want to remove your personal belongings.” But, the officers would need to inspect each of the tents to be sure there was nothing or no person that would threaten the safety of police.

Naturally, Occupy Buffalo, which had a reputation for being peaceful took issue with this. An officer reacted, “You guys have been wonderful.” He went to find out how to move on from here. [cont’d.]