Occupy Buffalo asks about surveillance

Aug. 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Members of the Occupy protest movement in Buffalo, N.Y., say they have sued in federal court to learn the extent of government surveillance of their group.

"The Department of Homeland Security was created after 9/11 for the sake of national security and just over a decade later, we can clearly see it's monitoring ordinary United States citizens," said Nichol Stewart, an Occupy Buffalo volunteer.

The group's attorneys, as part of the lawsuit, are seeking documents on when and how various government agencies monitored the Buffalo protesters, The Buffalo News reported Wednesday.

"The public has a right to know why the FBI has a file on Occupy Buffalo. The FBI doesn't have a right to open an investigation when folks simply chose to speak out," said Michael Kuzma, a lawyer for the group.

One of the documents already released, through the Freedom of Information Act, is a Homeland Security report on a peaceful protest on the Rainbow Bridge, connecting nearby Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Jan. 1, the newspaper said.

"Approximately 30 members of the U.S. Occupy movement went to the middle of the Rainbow Bridge and a brief ceremony was held," the report read in part.

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