By: Ashley Burgess
Occupy Columbia protesters are back, after South Carolina state police removed them from Statehouse grounds Wednesday night, arresting 18 people who refused to leave. The arrests were made after Governor Nikki Haley ordered that protesters to leave the Statehouse grounds by 6:00 p.m.
"We have mattresses on the grounds, we have toilet paper in the bushes. said Governor Haley. We have plants that have been messed up. We have things that have been causing a problem in terms of respect of the grounds of the Statehouse."
Protestors denied Haley's claims, saying she was lying about problems and that they have been very tidy, and very respectful to anyone who wants to come to the Statehouse.
State police moved in as protesters sat beneath the Confederate Monument and linked arms as rain started to pour down.
Occupy Columbia protester Walid Hakim says they were exercising our first amendment right.
"To show our economic injustice, the marriage between corporate money and government and the inequities that are all across the country that's happening," said Hakim.
Officers cleared the Statehouse grounds, peaceably arresting 18 protesters. They forced the remanding protester across the street. Those arrested were booked into jail and released after midnight.
Bradly Powell, one of Occupy Columbia protester arrested Wednesday, returned Thursday just hours after being released to prove that he will not stop fighting for what he believes in.
"We had a lot of people here, probably 100 to 200 people here cheering in support. It's what democracy should and can look like if we take responsibility for our system," said Powell.
A movement that started on Wall Street just a few months ago, now has things stirred up in Columbia and as of now, occupiers show no signs of stopping.