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Tensions flare outside Cadillac Hotel as protesters gather again; mayor responds

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – One day after several people were arrested at the Cadillac Hotel, many returned. They criticized Rochester’s mayor for what they call unjustified arrests.

"You’re either with us or against us," said Clifford Florence, Sr. of the Central Church of Christ. "And it sounds like those we voted for are against us, and we’re here together to take a stand as one community."

Former residents were locked out last week. The building has been purchased by a private developer, and the goal is to refurbish the building for high-end apartments.

Sister Grace Miller, along with homeless advocates, criticized the plan Wednesday in front of the hotel, while asking the city to do more for its poor.

But tensions rose as Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester arrived and confronted the protesters, who accused her of calling the police to kick them off the property Tuesday night.

“An extremely large police force was sent,” argued Sister Grace Miller of the House of Mercy, “not to stop an illegal or dangerous act, but to arrest innocent, peaceful protesters exercising our constitutional rights.”

Mayor Warren said she was upset by the accusations leveled against her.

“Just last week, we sat down and talked about the issues and challenges and ways to work through it,” the mayor said to Miller. “I was very, very hurt and disheartened by what I saw today and everything, because of the issues you and I have worked on together.”

The mayor also reminded Sister Grace the protesters were trespassing on private property when they were arrested.

A pre-planned meeting between Miller and Warren to discuss homelessness in the city is said to still be on for Friday.

"All were saying is get decent housing to low income people and stop driving them out of the city," said Miller.

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