Local News

'Occupy Raleigh' participants arrested for blocking sidewalk

Posted October 27, 2011 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2011 12:59 p.m. EDT

— Eight people have been arrested in Raleigh when authorities said some anti-Wall Street protesters on the sidewalk next to the old Capitol building grounds in Raleigh didn't comply with instructions to remove their belongings.

State Capitol Police spokesman Ernie Seneca said three of the eight demonstrators arrested Thursday are charged with misdemeanor second-degree trespassing. Five others are charged with resisting police. Seneca said the charges facing those five where changed late Thursday after officers consulted with a magistrate.

The Department of Administration asked police to tell demonstrators to remove coolers, chairs, tables and other items from the sidewalk to allow access for other citizens. Seneca said most people complied, but three wouldn't leave their chairs, and others surrounded them as police approached.

Protestors say one of those arrested was disabled.

Many protesters followed those arrested to the Wake County Magistrate's Office after the arrests.

The Occupy movement held a rally on the Capitol grounds Oct. 15 and then shifted its demonstrations to the sidewalk.

The Occupy Raleigh group had sought a permit to camp out on the grounds of the Capitol through Oct. 30, but that application was denied last week.

The state Department of Administration told the group that it could reapply under guidelines limiting property use to four hours. The agency has also said there aren't enough State Capitol Police to provide extended security.

Occupy Raleigh organizers said the four-hour limit fails to account for the extent of the economic and political problems their movement seeks to address.

About 400 people took part in an Occupy Raleigh rally on the State Capitol grounds two weeks ago. Raleigh police arrested 20 people who refused to leave the grounds after the permit expired. Officers allowed about 75 protesters who moved to the sidewalk to stay.

The Occupy Wall Street protests began more than a month ago in New York City and have drawn tens of thousands in similar demonstrations against corporate greed around the country and the world.