EUTAW, Ala. (AP) - More protests and arrests are being urged by a black Alabama lawmaker after 16 protesters were taken into custody for blocking a raid by state police at an electronic bingo casino overnight.
Legislative Black Caucus Chairman John Rogers of Birmingham said Gov. Bob Riley's effort to shut down the Greenetrack casino in a poor, rural Alabama county is hurting blacks who depend on it for jobs. He said several caucus members plan to protest and be arrested at the casino Thursday afternoon.
Riley and his gambling task force commander, John Tyson Jr., contend the electronic bingo machines are illegal slots and cannot be allowed. The 16 protesters, including a black state senator and the casino's CEO, blocked the entrance during a night-long standoff before they were arrested.
The protesters refused to leave the casino so state police could seize more than 800 electronic bingo machines. Each person is charged with obstruction of justice.
Alabama Public Safety Director Christopher Murphy said Thursday the 16 had blocked the entrance to the casino throughout the night after a court order cleared the way for the governor's gambling task force to enter. He said they were cooperative when arrested.
Riley says court rulings in recent months have made clear the electronic bingo machines are illegal slot machines.