A get-out-the vote rally in swing state North Carolina on Saturday ended with police using pepper spray on some participants and making several arrests.
Multiple people were arrested outside Alamance County’s courthouse and police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, news outlets reported.
Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racism activist who participated in the rally, told The Associated Press police used tear gas indiscriminately and without reason on the crowd, including on children.
“The police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd,” she said.
Police did not immediately comment, but the department said it would hold a news conference Saturday afternoon to discuss the arrests.
Saturday is the last day to vote early in North Carolina, a key battleground President Donald Trump needs to win to boost his prospects of defeating Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called the events “troubling.” He said election officials told him that polling places stayed open and people continued to vote.
“All eligible voters in North Carolina have a constitutional right to cast their vote safely and securely, without threats or intimidation,” said Stein, a Democrat.
Alamance County sheriff’s deputies began dismantling a sound system and telling the crowd to disperse as people were giving speeches, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
The “I Am Change” march to the polls was organized by activist Rev. Greg Drumwright, and began as a march from a local church to the courthouse. A Confederate monument outside the courthouse has been a local target for demonstrations since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes.