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Mayor: Albany "Assessing The Situation" As Demonstrators' Occupation Nears A Week

South Station in Albany
Lucas Willard
South Station in Albany

With fencing in place around Albany police stations and protestors camped outside South Station for a sixth day, Mayor Kathy Sheehan would not say Thursday how long the demonstrators will be allowed to remain.

South End streets have been blocked off for several days following a clash between protestors and police April 14 that city officials labeled a riot.

Protestors are demanding the firing of an officer seen on video swatting a light and a megaphone out of activists’ hands that day.

At an unrelated press conference Thursday, Sheehan suggested the protestors won’t be allowed to stay forever.

"This is a determiantion that's happening within the police department and the chief has my complete confidence, and his command staff," the second-term Democrat said. "Clearly we need to make sure that streets are passable to folks. I've been told that sometimes we have sinkholes that make them not passable, but at some point we do need for people to be able to get through on that [Arch] street."

"I'm mindful of calls that we've recevied from residents down there that are sympathetic and understand that people want to make their voices heard, but we need to find a way to co-exist," Sheehan added.

Sheehan was asked a second time how long the city will wait before removing the protestors, who have vowed not to leave. 

"We are assessing the situation," she said. "We had Occupy Albany that went on for weeks and weeks in the city of Albany. We are working hard to ensure that we're keeping everyone safe. As we look across the country at the tensions and the issues that have happened in other places, we are working really hard to keep our police officers safe, to prevent them from being exposed to violence or violent confrontation." 

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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