Protesters appear in court, charged with blocking traffic on Highway 147 in Durham

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Thirty-one protesters were scheduled for their first appearances Thursday afternoon in a Durham County courtroom.

The group was arrested Dec. 5 for a protest that ended up on the Durham Freeway, once again briefly shutting it down.

Not all 31 arrested were in court, their attorney presented waivers to the judge excusing their absence. Before those present entered the courthouse they took a detour to City Hall to protest inside.

The rallies are all part of the ongoing nationwide protesting we've seen since the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the chokehold death of Eric Garner, both at the hands of police officers during alleged altercations.

After the hearing, the protesters refused to answer questions from the media and only read from a prepared statement that pledge to continue to protest with the rest of the nation.

The group will face a judge again in early February.

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