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Police declare 'protesting is a non-essential activity' as woman is arrested for failing to disperse at rally to reopen NC economy

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'God bless America!' the handcuffed woman yelled as cops led her away

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Amid a rally that drew more than 100 protesters to downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday demanding the reopening of the state's economy, a tweet about the demonstration from the city's police department was clear: "Protesting is a non-essential activity."

Image source: Twitter

The tweet came after cops earlier declared "protestors are in violation" of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's stay-at-home executive order to stop the spread of the coronavirus "and have been asked to leave."

Image source: Twitter

Protesters said Cooper's order is an unconstitutional overreach that threatens to destroy small businesses, and that the coronavirus isn't as deadly as officials are claiming, testing is inaccurate, and causes of death are suspicious, the News & Observer reported.

'God bless America!'

The paper said at least one protester was arrested for failing to disperse, as her wrists were zip tied.

"I have a right to peacefully assemble," she told police, the News & Observer reported.

As officers led her away, the woman shouted, "God bless America!"

Raleigh police said state capitol police made the arrest.

Here's the clip:

Protestor arrested during ReOpenNC rally in Raleigh, NC youtu.be

What else happened?

Every 15 minutes about 50 cars honked their horns in unison, the paper said, adding that as an officer asked several protesters to keep six feet apart, the noise drowned out his voice.

"We are in violation of Comrade Cooper's order," Leonard Harrison said, according the the paper. "If I get locked up today, I'm OK with that. As North Carolinians, we need to get back to work."

"You should be ashamed of yourself," one protester told police, the paper said, while another protester asked them, "Are you goons of Cooper or servants of the people?"

More from the News & Observer:

The protest was organized by ReopenNC, a private Facebook group organized last week that wants people to make their own stay-at-home decisions to avoid exposure to COVID-19 as the worldwide pandemic continues. The group surpassed 26,000 members on Tuesday morning.

Cooper said at a Monday afternoon news conference that anyone wanting the restrictions to end abruptly is inviting danger.

"Some people want to completely obliterate these restrictions," Cooper said, according to the paper. "It would be a catastrophe. The numbers are very clear that the interventions that we've entered into — social gatherings, limitations on bars and restaurants, the stay at home order — those kinds of things are working."

North Carolina has had at least 5,024 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only 108 deaths from the virus.

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