Police make 31 arrests following 4-hour-long Durham protests - incendiary device found

DURHAM (WTVD) -- More than 100 protesters upset by recent grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson blocked some streets and highways in Durham Friday night.

First, protesters blocked Mangum Street in downtown Durham.

The group then marched toward and onto the Durham Freeway, which prompted police to close the highway in both directions for about 30 minutes.

At one point, protesters also blocked the intersections of Duke and Chapel Hill Streets, and stopped in front of the Durham Performing Arts Center.

A SWAT team and other police officers were also standing guard outside of the Durham Police Department just in case.


"We were prepared for anything that could possibly happen," said Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez. "We're going to go by what they do. It's not like we're leading the whole situation. We've got individuals that are from outside the City of Durham planning these events, and they're trying to make a statement but, in fact, what they start to do is disrupt the city."

Lopez said at least one emergency call had to be diverted because crews could not get through the crowds. Police first said the windows of a police cruiser were smashed during the protest, but later said that was not the case.

Officers made arrests in the area of Vivian Street and Mangum Street. They later made more in the area of Geer and Corporation streets.

Saturday, police said a total of 31 were arrested. They also said an incendiary device - a bottle with a wick and an apparent petroleum-based liquid inside - was found in the 600 block of Foster Street between West Geer Street and West Corporation Street. It was safely removed.

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