One person has been arrested out of a group that was participating in a car rally outside the home of state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger in Eden.
Loan Tran, a resident of Durham who is a co-executive director of Southern Vision Alliance, was arrested for a traffic violation after taking part in a 30-car demonstration organized by NC United for Survival & Beyond.
The protesters took turns reading from the 10 demands from the United for Survival platform — created and signed by more than 200 organizations across the state — said Gwen Frisbie-Fulton. As each car passed Berger’s residence, drivers honked while other banged pots and pans, organizers said in a press release.
“The demands ranged from expanding Medicaid without impediment to access,” said Juan Miranda, one of the protesters. “We are demanding all immigrants, regardless of legal status, to have access to emergency services. Access to language justice. Providing cash assistance to community members who don’t have access to government ID, and ending all collaboration with ICE.”
Elena Everett, who co-directs the Southern Vision Alliance with Tran, said her colleague was released soon after the arrest, but was charged with three traffic violations.
Lt. C. Gallaher with the Eden Police Department said the arrest took place “across town” from Berger’s residence. He said police responded “to allegations of people being in the area of Sen. Berger’s home,” but when the officers arrived the protesters had already moved on. Gallaher acknowledged that the vehicle stop that led to Tran’s arrest was “mixed in with the caravan.”
“It is disturbing that instead of allowing people to have free speech, that instead of how they did in Raleigh [during the Reopen NC protests] with people who weren’t socially distant, they decided to detain people for exercising their rights. They were being targeted and potentially profiled.”
Gallaher denied that the arrest had anything to do with the protest.
“It was related to some traffic violation,” he said, “not anything to do with any protest.”
“We want to call for those charges to be immediately dropped,” Everett said.
Protesters who participated in the 30-car caravan came from within a two-hour radius, including Guilford, Forsyth, Alamance, Orange and Durham counties, Miranda said.
Yesterday, protesters dropped seven banners across the state reading, “We need relief for people not corporations, Phil Berger,” according to a United for Survival press release.