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Five arrested at protest outside of Erie County GOP fundraiser

Protest turned to arrests for five social justice activists Thursday evening when they refused to leave the grounds of an Erie County Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump. 

Members of Showing Up for Racial Justice began the evening standing outside of the Lamm Post Grove on Wehrle Drive in Williamsville, to gather support from suburbanites and to denounce what they say is President Trump’s courting of white supremacists.

SURJ volunteer Rebecca Chen said there is no place for white supremacy in her community.

“We’re calling on anti-racist members of the Western New York region, city, suburb, rural,” she said. “To join us to confront White Supremacy and get serious about opposing Trump at the polls. The safety of our communities depends on it.”

Taking in the protest from the parking lot, Republican Sean Miles said he has no problem with the activists.

“Well people are using their First Amendment right,” he said. “That’s what it’s there for. As long as there’s no violence and things don’t get disruptive, I’m all for people using their First Amendment right. That’s what we’re here protecting.”

Miles is a candidate running against incumbent Crystal Peoples-Stokes for the State Assembly’s 141st District.

Amherst Police intervened as the protestors made their way into the parking lot behind Lamm Post Grove, orders to disperse were given and five of the roughly 25 protestors refused to leave and were arrested. No further details of the arrests have been made.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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