"Occupy Buffalo" Protesters Forced to "Unoccupy" Niagara Square

February 2, 2012 Updated Feb 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By By: Jaclyn Asztalos

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February 2, 2012 Updated Feb 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - After a four-month protest, Niagara Square was cleared out of "Occupy Buffalo" tents and all the protesters.

"It's unfortunate that the city decided to come in here and sweep up the camps," Protester Christina Cooke said.

Some "Occupy Buffalo" protesters carried away their belongings. Other items were hauled away by bulldozers. Some of the Occupiers themselves were even taken away in handcuffs after refusing to leave the area.

"These people are dedicated. They live here and they are passionate. Their voices should be heard," Cooke said.

This eviction comes after days of contract negotiations between the city and protesters. After the Occupy group rejected the final offer from the city, Buffalo Police and S.W.A.T. team members took action.

"The agreement expired midnight on February 1st. There was an extension until March 8th. Last night, the Occupy group decided not to go with the agreement and move on," City of Buffalo Spokesperson Mike DeGeorge said.

When daylight hit, protesters didn't skip a beat. They began to march again, this time on the sidewalk of the square, which is allowed according to the city ordinance.

Beside the protesters on the sidewalk trying to continue to get their message across, the only other items left in the square were American flags. Protesters said they have a significant meaning.

"The flags I put around represent all the once arrested last night," Protester Paula Verduzco said.

Although both sides agree it was a peaceful eviction with those arrested going without incident, the city said they did not want the movement to end it this way.

"The Occupiers were a very cooperative group. That is why it is so disappointing that it had to come to this," DeGeorge said.

Eyewitness News will continue to follow this story, with reaction from the Mayor, and where the "Occupy Buffalo" movement may end up next.