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Protesters assert First Amendment rights, plead not guilty

Fifteen of 17 people arrested on April 29 inside the Legislative Building went before Wake County District Court Judge Dan Nagle on charges that they failed to disperse when asked by the General Assembly police. The protesters also were charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.

The Rev. William Barber, the head of the state NAACP and chief architect of the weekly demonstrations outside the General Assembly chambers, was among the group. They pleaded not guilty and asked for the cases to be dismissed. The group mounted legal challenges that could test the limits of restrictions that General Assembly police can put on people assembling peacefully inside the government building.

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