Demonstrators picket on a range of issues

Aug 23, 2013

More than a dozen protestors rallied outside in a gated area across from Alumni Arena Thursday. Demonstrators were calling on the president to change his stance on a multitude of issues. The majority of protestors were there to urge the President to ban the controversial gas drilling practice known as hydrofracking.

Rita Yelda is with Food and Water Watch. She says they were hoping to get the chance to meet the president.

Protestors rally across from UB's Alumni Arena
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

“We’re also asking that he reopen that investigation in Dimock, Pennsylvania. The EPA’s own findings found water contamination in Pennsylvania, and instead of doing something about it the EPA closed the case and told people that there was is safe. There are people that still have brown water, foul smelling water and they have absolutely no recourse,” said Yelda.

John Keevert drove from Rochester to Buffalo to join the group of fracking protestors. He said he wants the president to move away from using natural gas and towards renewables.

“We have enough solar and wind to two or three times fill the need of energy for the U.S. It’s just a matter of investing the technology to build the infrastructure. We applaud him for recognizing the importance of global warming and we are hoping that he gets something passed,” said Keevert.

Protestors were gated off across from Alumni Arena
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

Another group on scene, who didn’t want to comment on tape, were there to support the president’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

The Buffalo and International Action Center’s Garrett Dicembre was there to urge the President to reduce America’s role in the Middle East.

“I would be telling him to get his bases and the military out of all of the countries around the world, where they should not be. To stop bombing these countries, and to stop sponsoring that kind of terrorism, because the world can do without it. To put that money towards things here like universal healthcare and education,” said Dicembre.

Garrett Dicembre rallied with the Buffalo and International Action Center
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

Protesters didn’t get their chance to see the President, who entered through a back entrance. The crowd drifted away as soon as they heard President Obama was inside Alumni Arena.