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Police arrest protesters blocking traffic at Delaware and Chippewa

Posted at 1:21 PM, Jul 11, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Protesters from the Close the Camps Coalition, as well as Jewish Voice for Peace Buffalo and Justice for Migrant Families WNY held a protest at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street Thursday afternoon.

The demonstration shut down traffic in the intersection early Thursday afternoon, those protesting were calling for the closure of the camps on the southern border.

"There is absolutely no reason no matter what legal status they have to treat people this cruelly and this inhumanely, so we are saying these camps have to be shut down," Whitney Crispell, an organizer of Close the Camps Coalition, said.

In June 2018, President Trump said immigration problems are the fault of Democrats, and that the Democrats will not "come to the table" instead of "playing politics."

"We need borders ... we have to take care of our people," Trump said.

"The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility...not on my watch," he said.

Several protesters gathered in the middle of the intersection, outside the local Department of Homeland Security office, with the names of children on their backs who they say were killed in camps at the southern border.

Protesters are calling on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, specifically. A small group occupied his local office and gave him a list of demands, according to protester Crispell.

Buffalo police gave demonstrators five minutes to leave the area and ultimately made arrests. Nine people were arrested by police. They are being charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and unlawful assembly. During the arrests, several protesters continued chanting on the sidewalks.

"The protest was peaceful, but it was illegal," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. He adds the response from police was appropriate, urging future protesters to work with the police department.

Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo added, "Freedom of speech is our fundamental right as citizens, as Americans and we respect that. And we help people to accomplish that mission, but we cannot allow people to trample other peoples rights to get their message out."

Following the arrests, police opened back up Chippewa Street and Delaware Ave.

Reporter Taylor Epps was on scene and did a Facebook Live.