Local News

Raleigh Tourists Discover Locked Buildings, Peaceful Demonstration Saturday

Posted June 12, 2004

— Downtown Raleigh was on a heightened security alert Saturday.

The state closed the Capitol, the Archive Building and the Museum of History, fearing a violent protest of the G8 Summit in Georgia.

The Highway Patrol cruised the sky. Raleigh officers and Capitol police patroled the streets.

The protesters gathered. But peace prevailed, leaving some disappointed tourists to think the lockdown was an overreaction.

"It's not what I was looking for," said Beth Hornick, a downtown visitor.

Officers on nearly every corner and barricades in front of the Capitol caught a lot of visitors off guard. Many tourists were surprised to find a number of popular weekend stops locked.

Rose Williams had been hoping to show her relatives the Museum of History.

"I was thinking of showing them what North Carolina is about," Williams said, "and, all of a sudden, it's closed. How embarassing."

Meanwhile, the gathering of protestors near the legislative building campaigned against capitalism and the G8 Summit.

The flea-market-type demonstration was peaceful. But the state did not want to take any chances after what happened Thursday in Durham, where investigators said

masked men closed three Research Triangle Park railroad crossings and then set off smoke bombs.

Protestors also had hung signs over nearby overpasses opposing the G8 Summit on Thursday.

Saturday's protestors said Thursday's events had nothing to do with Saturday's.

"They're commenting on the same event we're commenting on," protestor Liz Holloway said. "They just chose a different way to do it."

Demonstrators in Raleigh said the state overreacted, and at least some tourists agreed.

"It seems a little overkill," tourist Patrick Drollinger said. "Don't know what we're going to do."

The event ended about 5 p.m. Saturday. There were no arrests.

All downtown sites go back to normal hours Sunday. The Museum of History is open from noon to 5 p.m. The Capitol is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., as is the visitor's center.

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