Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Asheville's local 'Black Lives Matter' group has no affiliation with the national chapter.
Demonstrators from a group that refused to identify itself tried to push their way into the Renaissance hotel downtown Saturday and Sunday nights. Video footage showed a mostly Caucasian crowd in their 20s and 30s chanting and trying to move through the hotel’s revolving door.
Eleven people were arrested over the weekend on charges that included resisting and officer and failure to disperse.
Delores Venable, one of the leaders of Asheville's Black Lives Matter group, said the demonstrators have absolutely no ties or endorsements from her group.
“I don’t know these individuals,” Venable said. “I’ve never met them. We’ve never worked with them.”
Venable said Asheville’s chapter isn’t officially affiliated with the three woman who founded the movement, but she said that isn’t required to create a local chapter.
“Black Lives Matter is a movement,” said Venable. “Most local chapters don’t have an official affiliation and they aren’t required to.”
Asheville Police spokesperson Christina Hallingse said the department doesn't have a name for the group. She said when members spoke with officers they refused to give their names and would not identify their group.
Group members were seen on video taken last weekend chanting “shut it down” and “Black people lived here.”
Some members indicate they want the police department defunded by 50% but have never provided specifics on a proposal.
A Renaissance hotel who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he asked several demonstrators what they were protesting and they said they didn’t know. He said they told him they had been contacted to come attend the event outside the hotel.
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