Chapel Hill: cops vs. anarchists and no one wins | Orange County | Indy Week

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Chapel Hill: cops vs. anarchists and no one wins



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Timeline(s) of events


8 p.m. Saturday—A group of 50 to 75 people march from the Carrboro Anarchist Bookfair, held at the Nightlight on Rosemary Street, to the Chrysler Building at 419 W. Franklin St. They enter by raising the garage door.

Soon after—Chapel Hill police arrive, and three enter the building. They are met with chants of "ACAB!" The police "left as quickly as they came" and did not ask anyone to vacate. "They left, they didn't say anything to us, which is a signal of OK," said Kassandra Afray, 21, who was later one of seven charged with breaking and entering.

After the police leave—The group holds an assembly on how to use the space, and moves a noise and experimental art show to the building.

30 minutes later—Trucks return with wooden pallets, doors, water jugs and a display case. "Others began spreading the word to the nearby Occupy Chapel Hill campsite, and bringing their camping gear to the building."

Overnight—The group screens a movie, holds a dance party and begins passing out literature on its "experiment."

Sunday morning—"The building remains in our hands, with a small black flag hanging over the front door. The first 48 hours will be extremely touch and go, but with a little luck, and a lot of public support, we aim to hold it in perpetuity."

A yoga class is planned for the afternoon.

4:30 p.m. Sunday—With no warning, police storm the building with assault riffles and helmets and tell everyone to get on the ground. They begin handcuffing, processing, charging and loading people into a Chapel Hill Transit bus. Two journalists and a legal observer are also detained.

"It was such an aggressive and sudden and traumatizing thing. At one point I was at peace, and at another I was in an instant war zone," said Hannah Shaw, a supporter who was on the sidewalk and wasn't charged.

A crowd gathers across the street and chants "Shame! Shame!"

10 p.m. Sunday—A group of 100 supporters march in downtown Chapel Hill, most wearing black, chanting "Occupy Everything" and "We'll be back." They held signs reading "Off the Pigs."


7:45 p.m. Saturday—Police receive information that local anarchists book fair participants were organizing a march to the Chrysler Building at 419 W. Franklin St. They learn that 70 people broke into the building and plan to hold it permanently.

Soon after—An officer engages the group and is greeted by chants of "ACAB," which they later learn stands for "All Cops Are Bastards." The group moves in a threatening manner toward the officer. Several are wearing hoods and masks. Officers pull back from the scene to avoid a confrontation.

Overnight—Police monitor the building and see generators, food, wooden pallets and other items brought in. They gather more information on members of the group and learn that one was involved in a violent protest at Greenbridge. They find flyers they say depicted the Occupy Oakland movement, which alarmed them. They were further afraid of large banners that obscured the windows, and say the group had lookouts on the roof.

4:30 p.m. Sunday—Based on "known risks associated with anarchist groups" police wait until the crowd reaches a "manageable size." They deploy a tactical team because they aren't sure if weapons are inside. Police Chief Chris Blue says the plan required patience and restraint and stresses that no one was injured and no tear gas was used. Police don't find weapons, only flammable materials, a bag of rocks, and information on how to conduct a riot, how many people it takes to flip a police car and where to strike a window to break it.

UNC police and Carrboro police help secure the perimeter with Franklin Street shut off for six blocks. Anyone standing nearby the building is detained until they can be cleared as not involved because police aren't sure who poses a threat.

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