The president of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation says city officials were wrong to charge protesters in Washington Square Park, calling the arrests "an embarrassment to our community and dishonors our American values."

The president of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation says city officials were wrong to charge protesters in Washington Square Park, calling the arrests "an embarrassment to our community and dishonors our American values."


More than 30 Occupy Rochester protesters were charged in Washington Square Park Friday night after they refused to leave past the park's 11 p.m. closing time.


James Bertolone said in a statement that the criticism isn't towards the police officers, but those at City Hall, who say the charges are in line with city ordinances. He said he was "disturbed" that "officials made the decision to arrest people many hours before the actual protest," adding that the AFL-CIO office received a warning from City Hall hours before the demonstration began.


"We demand in the strongest possible terms that Mayor Richards reverse his directive and order his troops to stand down," Bertolone's statement continued. "Local ordinances for the public's property, such as trespassing or parade permit laws, cannot be allowed to deny the rights of of Americans to peaceably exercise their first amendment rights."


Bertolone says the labor movement in Rochester and across the state will continue to support Occupy protests.