Protesters pepper sprayed after shutting down road in southeast Charlotte

CMPD: Protesters pepper sprayed after shutting down road in southeast Charlotte

A road in southeast Charlotte has reopened after being shut down due to a protest Saturday afternoon.

The incident occurred around noon on private property on the 4300 block of Monroe Road.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, nearly 200 people took part in a civil rights protest in response to a cultural festival.

Monroe Road was then shut down between McAlway Drive and Alliance Drive as orders to disperse were given by police.

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Shortly after 3 p.m., police said protesters who remained in the area were pepper sprayed for blocking the street.

The pepper spray hit a few protesters, as well as a few officers, according to police.

Police said those who were hit with pepper spray were treated at the scene.

The protest was deemed unlawful, according to police.

Veteran crime reporter Glenn Counts spoke with participants who said there were two groups present.

One of those groups was those who supported the government of the tiny African nation of Eritrea. The other consisted of those who claimed the president of that nation was a brutal dictator.

“A lot of Eritreans, when they come to America, you see them in two groups: they either become law-abiding citizens who are pro-American, pro-justice, and pro-democracy, or they turn into extremists who support a dictator who are anti-American, anti-peace, anti-democracy, and anti-justice,” spokeswoman Helen. “We love our president; we love our country. We die for our country.”

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Around 6:30 p.m. the inbound lanes of Monroe Road were reopened.

Police said four arrests have been made in connection with this incident.

Three men and a woman have been charged with impeding traffic. That same woman has also been charged with inciting a riot, according to police.

Just after 8 p.m., CMPD announced firefighters had to be called in after protestors set a tractor-trailer on fire, luckily no one was hurt.

Around that same time, police arrested more people bringing the total to eight, their charges are unknown at this time.

Police announced all lanes of Monroe Road had reopened just before 9:30 p.m.

This is a developing story with constant updates; check this article for developments.

(WATCH: Crowd gathers in Uptown Charlotte for emergency rally protesting Israeli airstrikes)

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