Not taking any chances: County, city residents preparing for large downtown demonstration

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The county and city residents are preparing for a large planned demonstration Friday in downtown Rochester. The Black Lives Matter rally is due to start in the afternoon by the Liberty Pole.

The Sibley Tower Building on East Main Street and other facilities are being secured with boarding to prevent any possible damages, while some government buildings will be closed.

Edward Watson was walking Main Street looking at the added layers of reinforcement, and says it’s nothing pretty to look at, but necessary.

“So I want to condemn in the harshest terms that the looting is devastating and causing a lot of pain in my neighborhood!” says Watson, who lives downtown by the Sibley Building.

Watson was reacting the events of last weekend, taking a stand against any more destruction. Much of his block remains boarded up, trying to slowly rebuild. He’s asking the young people who took part in the pillaging, “if Black lives matter so much, why destroy Black neighborhoods?”

“This looting is causing a lot of problems, and it’s affecting a lot of Black people!” he says. Watson welcomes the extra protection, even if tomorrow’s planned demonstration in this area turns out to be a calm one.

“I feel a little bit safer,” says Rochelle Donahue who lives in the Sibley complex with her family. She says after last weekend, any added security is welcome. “Just knowing this is getting taken care of. Last weekend was hectic,” she says.

The city identified more than 80 buildings that were looted or vandalized last weekend. That’s why the local government isn’t taking any chances.

In a statement, County Executive Adam Bello announced several County office buildings will close tomorrow adding, “This action is being taken in anticipation of large demonstration in the vicinity tomorrow. The related noise and potential road closures could affect the ability of County employees to complete their duties. Instead, employees who report to these two buildings are preparing to work from home.”

The Regional Transit Center is also planning to adjust their schedules should demonstrations go awry. You can check for any changes here.

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