Protesters take over future site of Carrboro CVS
Posted February 4, 2012
Carrboro, N.C. — A protest group calling itself Carrboro Commune took over a vacant downtown building Saturday that they hoped would become a community center, but was recently purchased by the CVS Corporation.
Interim town manager Matt Efird said the people who broke in are related to the "Nomadic Occupy" movement, a local off-shoot of Occupy Wall Street. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton went to the site and asked the trespassers, who had built a table and were carrying in containers of food, to leave peacefully.
"You have the opportunity to leave without getting arrested. You can leave now," Chilton told more than a dozen protesters.
"Why should we?" one of them shouted.
"You don't have to," Chilton said. "You can get arrested if you prefer."
Police officers then entered the building.
"This is the point where I'm not longer asking you to leave. I'm telling you to leave," Chilton said.
The mayor, police officers and protester left the building, but the heated dialogue continued outside.
"I make barely above minimum wage. The only thing between me and getting evicted is two months' rent," a man who identified himself as Johnny Moran told Chilton. "I'm sick of living in a society like this."
When Moran described the police as an army between hungry people and the food in the grocery store, Chilton told him, "You're full of crap."
After a lengthy debate, the protesters left without incident, Efird said. No one was arrested, but the group said it plans to return to the building for a rally Sunday. It wasn't clear whether they planned to go inside.
The building, at 201 N. Greensboro St. across from Weaver Street Market, is the proposed site for a 24-hour CVS drug store.
In a statement, the group said the proposed drug store has faced "near-unanimous opposition" from the Carrboro community.
"Carrboro residents should have direct decision-making power over the resources of our neighborhoods and workplaces, rather than live at the mercy of speculating absentee landlords, out-of-state drug corporations, or town bureaucrats and politicians," the release states.