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Arrests at Occupy Raleigh concern Mayor Meeker

The arrests of eight people Thursday at an Occupy Raleigh protest did not sit well with Mayor Charles Meeker.

Meeker said it was his understanding that Raleigh police would get involved only "if there were an assault on a Capitol Police Officer or other similar disturbance."

But a different scenario played out. City officers aided Capitol Police in arresting eight people, including a disabled woman sitting on a chair, after the demonstrators refused to leave a sidewalk in front of the Capitol.

"The City Council needs to provide guidance" to city brass on how to balance the rights to assembly and free speech with the need for orderly conduct, Meeker wrote in a memo to his colleagues Friday. "I am concerned that the constitutional rights are not being given adequate weight."

A protest leader said Occupy Raleigh had contacted City Manager Russell Allen for help but found that Allen's hands were tied because the sidewalk falls under the jurisdiction of Capitol Police.

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