The Occupy Rochester protesters — arrested Friday night and arraigned Saturday in City Court — say they are victims of a city administration that is trying to limit their constitutional rights.
“This is an issue about free speech and political expression,” said Brian Lenzo, a media outreach coordinator for the group.
Lenzo, 30, of Rochester, was one of the 32 protesters arrested at Washington Square Park in downtown Rochester on Friday night, after police warned them that the park officially closes at 11 p.m. The arrests began about midnight.
Former Rochester school board member and president Shirley Thompson and a photographer for the Rochester Institute of Technology’s student publication on assignment also were among those arrested.
While Lenzo acknowledges that the city code has a prohibition against being in the park after 11, he said that the ordinance is intended for public safety and should not have been applied to the peaceful protesters.