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More 'Poor People's Campaign' arrests, group charges America with systemic racism

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 12. 2018 7:35PM

Arnie Alpert, a leader of the American Friends Service Committee, and the Rev. John Gregory-Davis of Meriden were among those arrested Monday.

CONCORD — Ten more participants in the so-called “New Hampshire Poor People’s Campaign” were arrested Monday evening for refusing to leave the Executive Council chambers, kicking off a fifth week of civil disobedience ostensibly aimed at drawing attention to poverty.

Those arrested include Arnie Alpert, a leader of the American Friends Service Committee, and two ministers — the Rev. Rob Grabill of Hanover and the Rev. John Gregory-Davis of Meriden.

New Hampshire State Police charged the protesters with Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass after they refused to leave the chambers at 5 p.m.

“They call us ahead of time and tell us exactly what they’re going to do. It’s very well organized and respectful,” said State Police Sgt. Bill Graham, the arresting officer, of the staged event.

The 10 designated for arrest wore arm bands and remained behind when police ordered the crowd to depart.

So far, 28 have been arrested in New Hampshire and 1,500 nationwide as part of the “Poor People’s Campaign National Call for Moral Revival.”

The group met at 2 p.m. Monday outside the New Hampshire Statehouse and eventually moved to the second-floor council chambers to hold what the campaign termed “a people’s public hearing.”

“Everyone has a right to live in a country not dominated by the systemic racist practices of government and other powerful institutions, structures, institutional interlocks, and matrices,” Willem Cerf of Manchester said in remarks distributed by the campaign.

One more action is anticipated, a final rally at 2 p.m. next Monday on the statehouse grounds.

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