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Steep penalties stop Statehouse protesters

COLUMBIA (AP) — Organizers of protests at South Carolina’s Statehouse have thought about getting arrested to prove their point, but say a state law specifically targeting demonstrations inside the capitol is stifling their movement.

South Carolina has a law making it illegal to demonstrate inside the Statehouse. The penalty is up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

South Carolina Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey has been organizing protests at the Statehouse to call for more spending on health care and education. He says he can’t ask protesters to get arrested because the penalties are too steep.

Bursey says he has protested all over the country and not seen a similar law. He says it was created in the 1960s to stop demonstrations for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.

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