NC police arrest protesters at vacant dealership

AP News
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Posted: Nov 13, 2011 11:20 PM
NC police arrest protesters at vacant dealership

More than two dozen police tactical officers in the university town of Chapel Hill rushed a vacant car dealership Sunday afternoon and arrested protesters who were inside.

The News & Observer reports ( http://bit.ly/vJytuQ) that officers carrying guns and semi-automatic weapons stormed the building at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Officers pointed rifles at those standing outside and ordered them to put their faces on the ground. Police also surrounded and cleared the building.

Police said in a news release Sunday evening that eight people who were inside the building were handcuffed and transported to appear before a local magistrate. As their bus pulled away, a crowd jeered police and chanted, "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

The eight face charges of breaking and entering, police said. Those standing outside _ including a News & Observer staffer _ were allowed to leave after their photos were taken.

The news release said police received information Saturday that "attendees from a local anarchist book fair were attempting to align themselves" with the Occupy Chapel Hill movement. Police said they also learned that about 70 people had broken into the former Yates Motor Co. building on West Franklin Street, a few blocks away from the University of North Carolina.

Authorities said they monitored the group overnight to avoid a confrontation with a large crowd. They said they were concerned about the group using tactics such as barricading themselves in the building, placing traps there and otherwise destroying property. Police said group members used large banners to obscure the windows to the business and had individuals serving as lookouts.

The police department used its tactical team Sunday because of the "known risks associated with these groups and the tactics employed in the Yates building," the news release said. Officers waited until the crowd had reached a "manageable size" before entering and clearing the building, police said.

The newspaper reported that police closed off four blocks of West Franklin Street as they removed signs that demonstrators had hung inside the dealership's show room windows.

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Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com