World News – CA – Police Pepper Spray Arrest Several Participants at North Carolina Voters’ Rally


The Associated Press

Protesters and Alamance County Sheriff’s Deputies in riot gear clash outside the courthouse in Graham, NC on Saturday, Oct 31 January 2020 before the use of pepper spray and several people arrested (Julia Wall / The News & Observer via AP)

A rally for the vote that ended with North Carolina police pepper spraying and the arrest of attendants was the result of road blocking by unauthorized participants, authorities said on Saturday

Graham police said they issued several warnings to crowds at the Alamance County courthouse to leave the causeway before releasing pepper spray and later arresting eight people

A press release from the department said the march organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright was not cleared to block traffic Drumwright first asked police and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office if authorities could block the road for members of the rally, but this request was never granted because Drumwright « missed the deadline » Graham police said

Police said the participants stopped on the pavement for about nine minutes, causing traffic « to pick up » in all directions around the courthouse square. »

Police later asked the crowd to disperse, giving them a five-minute warning to leave the roadway

After the time was up, the police said they released the spray to the ground and not « directly » to a participant.

The ‘I am the change’ march to the polls was organized by activist Drumwright and began as a march from a local church to the courthouse

Drumwright said the group were allowed to stand in the courthouse plaza and escorted through the streets by police He also said the group had « no intention » to hold the rally on the street

« We are fed up with this type of treatment in Alamance County and Graham City, » Drumwright said in a live Facebook video of the altercation. « These two legal entities colluded to suppress the peaceful organizers, who were here not only to vote today, but to call for an end to the oppression of the system and to racial denigration »

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racist activist who attended the rally, told The Associated Press that police indiscriminately and for no reason used tear gas on crowds, including children

« Police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd, » she said

Saturday is the last day for early voting in North Carolina, a key battleground President Donald Trump must win to improve his chances of defeating Democratic candidate Joe Biden

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called the events ‘disturbing’. « He said election officials told him polling stations remained open and people continued to vote

« All eligible voters in North Carolina have the constitutional right to vote safely and securely, without threats or intimidation, » said Stein, a Democrat

A Confederate monument outside the Alamance County Courthouse has been the target of local protests since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May Floyd, a black man, died after a white officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes

Drumwright said he would hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Tucker Street apartments in Burlington, where he is from

Full coverage at CTVNewsca / AmericaVotes

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North Carolina Pepper Spray, Graham

World News – CA – Police Pepper Spray Arrests Several Participants at North Carolina Voters Rally


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