Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Multiple members of the Occupy Columbia movement were arrested at the State House Wednesday, hours after Governor Nikki Haley said they had to leave the grounds of the Capitol Complex.
A spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said 19 people were taken into custody just before 6:30 p.m., an event which was broadcast live on WLTX.
According to the spokesman, the group was arrested for violating Section 10-11-20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws:
Unauthorized use of State House or grounds.
The arrest happened without incident, as the protestors offered no resistence and the officers used no force.
As rain poured down upon the scene, News19 spoke to protester Walid Hakim Wednesday night, after speaking to him Tuesday. As he was being taken away by authorities, Hakim spoke briefly.
"This is what is necessary to ensure that our First Amendment rights are protected," Hakim said about the arrest. "If the people don't stand up, then they (First Amendment rights) will be taken away."
According to Occupy Columbia's Twitter account, approximately 23 of the protesters were arrested, as authorities said the people had defied the order. Haley issued the order just after 4 p.m., for protesters to leave the complex.
At the time of their arrest, the members of the group were sitting down near the Confederate Flag at the State House.
Haley said protestors never had written permission to be out there, and were causing damage.
The group had been out on the lawn of the State House for 33 days.
First Amendment Attorney Jay Bender, speaking live on WLTX's 7 p.m. newscast, said he expects legal action in the wake of Wednesday's actions.