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Student climate activists removed from Asheville City Hall
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 14:19

From Staff Reports

Hundreds jammed the streets of downtown Asheville on Dec. 6 as part of a nationwide protest about combating climate change, according to an estimate by Asheville television station WLOS (News 13).

“The climate strike that started Friday morning ended at Asheville City Hall with protesters not getting what they wanted in a couple ways.,” WLOS reported.

“More than 30 demonstrators from Sunrise Movement Asheville occupied the hallway in front of Mayor Esther Manheimer’s office, calling on her to hear their demands for a climate resolution to be added to the next council agenda. But a city spokesperson said the mayor was out of town. Instead, one activist met with City Manager Debra Campbell, who called Manheimer.

“Police confined protesters to the hallway.”

Meanwhile, WLOS quoted Alex Lines of Sunrise Movement Asheville as saying, “We’re not out here trying to create any trouble. We’re here trying to fight for a future that we can all believe in and all thrive in.”

The TV station also reported, “About a dozen protesters lined up in the hallway, letting police know what they expected. Asheville attorney Ben Scales argued officers were violating first amendment rights. ‘I wish I had time to go get a lawsuit filed but I don’t, so I guess I’ll have to do that Monday,’ Scales said.”

Further, WLOS noted, “Asheville police warned protesters the building closed at 5 p.m. and anyone who did not leave would be arrested. About 15 refused to leave city hall at closing time and were told they would be taken into custody for trespassing. Instead, officers escorted the activists out of the building and locked the doors.

The TV station quoted Lines as saying, “As soon as they got us out of the building, they said you’re all free to go and didn’t arrest any of us.”

Further, WLOS said of the protesters, “Many were not pleased by the outcome, their civil disobedience derailed. Their lawyer saw another side of it. ‘It makes perfect sense to treat a non-violent protest in the most non-violent of ways, not arresting them,’ Scales said.

“Protesters said Friday’s action was a success, part of a nationwide climate strike that is not going away,” WLOS reported.



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