One Arrested as Raleigh, NC Police Suspend First Amendment; Declare Coronavirus Lockdown Protest “Non-Essential Activity”


Raleigh, North Carolina police suspended the First Amendment Tuesday, dispersing a protest against the COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus lockdown and arresting one protester for failing to disperse. The police issued a statement declaring “Protesting is a non-essential activity” that was in violation of an executive order by Governor Roy Cooper (D) prohibiting mass gatherings.

Image of protesters via Raleigh Police/Twitter.

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Some protesters gathered in their cars, honking theor horns in unison at 15 minute intervals.

Video of police ordering protesters to disperse under threat of arrest.

Police cited sections 1 and 3 of the executive order.

Section 1 3.iii allows outdoor activity for exercise activities within restrictions of Section 3.

Section 3 defines mass gatherings indoors or outdoors as ten or more people with limited exceptions that apparently do not include the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Excerpt from Raleigh News & Observer report:

More than 100 protesters rallied in downtown Raleigh to reopen North Carolina on Tuesday, describing Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-home order as an unconstitutional overreach that will kill the state’s small businesses.

At least one protester, Monica Faith Ussery, 51, of Holly Springs, was charged with violating the executive order.

“I have a right to peacefully assemble,” she said as officers led her away, her hands bound with a zip tie. “God bless America.”…

…The protest was organized by ReopenNC, a private Facebook group organized last week that wants people to make their own stay-at-home decisions to avoid exposure to COVID-19 as the worldwide pandemic continues. The group surpassed 28,000 members on Tuesday afternoon…

…Tuesday’s protest reached its third round of honks at 11:45 a.m. as protesters vowed to continue for hours.

But at roughly 12:30 p.m., police asked protesters to disperse.

“You are in violation of the executive order,” said a police captain. “You are posing a risk to public health. If you do not disperse, you will be taken and processed at Wake County jail.”

End excerpt. Please read the complete Raleigh News & Observer report at this link.





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