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Hertel Ave. protest demands permanent shut down of MT Pockets, denounces racism

More than 100 protesters demonstrated along Hertel Ave. Friday and went right in front of MT Pockets, where a racially-charged incident happened Tuesday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Over the past week, Hertel Avenue in Buffalo has been the boiling point of a couple protests calling for social justice, that have resulted in racially-charged confrontations. 

On Friday evening, marchers hit the streets again.

"We did not come to destroy your neighborhood we come in peace," said Stevo Johnson, the protest organizer.

The protest, which was very peaceful, went to the exact same spots where racially-charged incidents have occurred over the past week on Hertel Ave.
Protesters came with a larger message of social justice.

"Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, no justice, no peace, no racist police," protesters chanted.

Demonstrators went right outside MT Pockets, where protesters earlier this week got into a confrontation with customers and an owner of the bar.
Racial slurs were shouted from the crowd outside MT Pockets.

"I organized this protest because one of my friends, which is an African American female, she called me and she was very, very upset at what happened over here," Johnson said, "We denounce what happened this week it was vile, it was disrespectful to humanity.

There was also the message of more economic equality.

"As African Americans give our money to every sector of this city and guess what none of it comes back to our community. We do business with you, but you don't do business with us," Johnson said.

As for MT Pockets, protesters want it gone.

"This place is temporarily closed down. We need it to be permanently closed down," said Nate Boyd, a community activist.

MT Pockets is shut down for violating COVID-19 orders on social distancing and face masks. The Erie County Health Department is investigating the bar. MT Pockets has issued a statement saying it's sorry about what happened and does not condone racism.

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