Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chapel Hill police charge 3 with rioting in Greenbridge protest

By Mark Schultz - New Observer June 20, 2011

CHAPEL HILL -- Police charged three people with felony rioting and damage
to real property after a group of protesters vandalized the Greenbridge
condominium project in downtown Chapel Hill over the weekend.

A group of about 15 to 20 people entered the 10-story building Saturday
afternoon, while another group stood outside on the sidewalk with signs
asking drivers to honk if their opposed the project, said Lt. Kevin
Gunter. The project sits on edge of the historically black, working-class
Northside neighborhood.

An officer initially thought the protest was confined to the sidewalk. He
then learned more protesters were inside. The vandals had sprayed foam
inside the lobby, broken furniture and moved couches and end tables to
block the elevators.

The group ran out a side door when they saw the officer, Gunter said.
Police stopped and charged three protesters with one count each of felony
rioting and two counts each of damage to real property.

*** names omitted ***

There have been several incidents of vandalism and bomb threats against
the project, which critics say will hasten gentrification in the
surrounding neighborhood. Census data, however, shows the neighborhood has
been undergoing change since long before the project opened last summer.

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