Protesters peacefully end hourslong anti-war rally and sit-in on Durham Freeway

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Friday, November 3, 2023
Protesters end hour-long anti-war rally on Durham Freeway
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Protesters started the sit-in and rally on NC-147 North just after 5 p.m. Thursday.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the most up-to-date information on this incident, click here.

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Traffic came to a standstill on the Durham Freeway during Thursday's evening commute.

"Luckily I know my way around so I knew the alternate routes to take," said Israel Blue.

She was one of the many drivers who were stuck in traffic. The hold up caused by a group of anti-war protesters who took their gripes on the road, literally. Their largest sign included the phone number for NC Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-Chapel Hill), urging people to call her and urge her to put an end to the war. In mid-October, protesters went to her office calling for a similar action.

The protest happened along the northbound side of the roadway. Protesters are also on the overpass of Mangum Street.

"As a student Rabbi, my Judaism is a Judaism of justice and Judaism that values all life. I want to call on my fellow Jews and all people of faith to join us in calling for a cease-fire," said Noah Rubin Blose, who stood alongside other protesters on the Durham Freeway.

Rubin-Blose is part of the Jewish Voice for Peace the group that made the decision to hit the highway and disrupt the lives of thousands of drivers in Durham.

"We are cool with not doing this again if this ceasefire is resolved. If a ceasefire happens. We don't want to disrupt anything else but this is what violence takes. Violence against people in Palestine takes us disrupting people's traffic," said RC Collman, who protested Thursday night.

The protest started just before 5:00 p.m. Officers arrived at the scene shortly thereafter but initially did not move in on the group.

"I know a lot of folks wanted us to immediately go in and arrest folks and gather people up and sometimes that can make a situation worse," said Mark Anthony Middleton, Durham Mayor Pro Tempore

"You don't want to take a peaceful situation, although illegal, and turn it into something that becomes unmanageable or folks can start to get hurt," he continued.

Just before 7:30 officers warned the group they had 15 minutes to leave. Nearly 3 hours later just before 8 p.m. they complied. As for drivers like Blue she said she supports protesting but city resources could have been used in other places.