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Charges Dismissed Against Two UNC Students Accused Of Disorderly Conduct

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A judge dismissed charges Monday against two UNC students accused of disorderly conduct.

Last February, four people stormed onto the basketball court of the Dean Smith Center during a televised UNC-Virginia basketball game. The small group was protesting the war in Iraq.

Protester Andrew Pearson defends his act of civil disobedience.

"Sometimes, free speech means being loud in a place where it is normally not acceptable," he said.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees people the right to free speech, but the question becomes at what point do protesters cross the line. Last year, Durham police hauled the Rev. Curtis Gatewood out of a Durham school board meeting where he was protesting. More recently, police arrested anti-war demonstrators outside Sen. John Edwards' office.

Assistant District Attorney Bevery Scarlett said protestors must consider the rights of others.

"Whether we like it or not, there has to be rules put in place, so we can all live together and get along together," she said.

The case against the other two UNC protesters continues Tuesday.

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