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Occupy Buffalo

(photo by Sarah Bishop)
(photo by Colin Gartz)

The occupation of Niagara Square, already underway, wants you to join on Saturday, October 15, at noon

Two weeks ago, they were 90 people. Last Saturday, they were 250, maybe more.

Since that meeting, Occupy Buffalo’s second general assembly, their numbers have fluctuated between 20 and 40, lining the west side of Niagara Square at Court Street, holding signs, beating drums, strumming guitars, gratefully acknowledging the sympathetic honking of passing motorists, chanting slogans. They’ve been there day and night, sleeping on the grass and on the sidewalks. They make every decision by consensus, following rules of order in part adopted from the occupiers of Wall Street in New York City and in part created for themselves.

They are the vanguard of Occupy Buffalo. The rest of the region’s 99 percenters are invited to join them, to hold the territory they’ve staked out, on Saturday, October 15, at noon. The demonstrators in the square hope to see last Saturday’s numbers at least double, despite the end of an unreasonably beautiful stretch of weather.

So far, city officials have been cooperative. (Municipal workers, including firefighters and police, have been among the most enthusiastic horn-honkers.) Even welcoming—up to a point. There have been no confrontations with police, of the sort that marred the Occupy movements in New York and Boston last weekend. The occupiers have a permit from the city to demonstrate day and night but not to sleep in the square; however, they’ve been told that they won’t be harassed if they sleep on the sidewalks. The permit expires Friday night. Initially, on Tuesday morning, the city offered to issue a permit through next Monday, but later that morning they told the occupiers’ representatives that they’d discovered a conflicting event in Niagara Square on Saturday, and so a permit could not be issued for Saturday’s Occupy Buffalo gathering. It’ll happen anyway.

On Thursday at noon, the occupiers will march to the Main Place Tower to join local MoveOn members and New York Communities for Change to picket the offices of investment bank JP Morgan Chase. (It’s called “Occupy Chase.”) But, apart from that brief absence, the vanguard will continue to hold down the square.

If you want to learn more—what Occupy Buffalo stands for, how you can help, what the occupiers need—find them on Facebook. Or simply stop by and ask.

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