By WECT Staff | June 17, 2020 at 2:51 PM EDT – Updated June 17 at 4:58 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Protesters attempted to block City Council members from leaving the Wilmington Convention Center after Tuesday night’s meeting, according to the Wilmington Police Department.
WPD officials say roughly 100 protesters came to the meeting but only 38 people were allowed inside due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Toward the end of the meeting, Lily Nicole, who is one of the protest organizers, was given the opportunity to speak even though she was not on the agenda,” according to the police department. “Due to her behavior while speaking, she was escorted out of the convention center, where she then led the rest of the crowd around to Nutt Street and blocked all parking deck exits.”
Police say officers had to escort one of the convention center workers out of the parking deck while the crowd attempted to block in the officers with a vehicle.
According to the WPD, protesters then attempted to block council members from leaving the building. The WPD’s Mobile Field Force was “deployed to form a protective wall to move the crowd back so council members could get out safely.”
When the protesters moved from Nutt Street to City Hall, they reported blocked Third Street.
“Police gave the group several warnings over a 15-minute period, explaining why it was unlawful to sit or stand in the road, but the protesters still refused to move,” WPD officials said.
- Zachary Alan Ulrich, 30
- Jarod David Nizen, 22
- Brandon Zachary Odeh, 25
- Israel Alexander Sorenson, 28
- Christopher Steven Haynes, 31
All five were charged with impeding traffic and failure to disperse on command, and received a $1,000 unsecured bond.
While the arrests were being made, one individual was sprayed with pepper spray after shoving a deputy with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, according to the WPD.
“Following the arrest of the fifth person, the crowd moved over to the sidewalk but were still agitated and hostile, stating they were going to stay there until all five of the people arrested returned,” the WPD stated. “When the situation settled down, officers cleared the area but continued to monitor the situation.”
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