Protesters cited by police for blocking Crosstown

(Stefanie Bainum/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- In a protest in downtown Charleston for fast food workers, several people were cited by police for blocking traffic on the Crosstown.

According to protest organizers, 18 people in the group who formed a blockage across the Crosstown Thursday afternoon were arrested. However, police said the people in the group were only cited for blocking traffic.

A release issued after the event said the protesters blocked the road in a sit-down protest, "chanting as they braved 88-degree heat." The group was reportedly made up of fast food workers and their supporters.

Officials with the protest did not say why the group chose to block the busy and heavily trafficked intersection.

Police are looking into how many people were cited in the event and what the citations were for.

Known as the #StrikeFastFood movement, workers are calling for $15 an hour pay and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The campaign started in New York City in November 2012 when 200 fast food workers walked off the job. Since then, the movement has grown and has now spread to more than 150 U.S. cities.

In Charleston, there were two fast food strikes scheduled for Thursday.

"I work at McDonald's and the reason I am striking today is because I have four kids and I do not make enough. I do not make enough to support my family on $7.35," said fast food worker Cherri Delesline, who has worked at McDonald's on Montague Avenue for the past 10 years. "Today I am calling for a minimum wage that will help families support their families and what is that going to take? That is going to take $15, nothing less and nothing more. I just want $15 an hour."

The first protest took place at 8:30 a.m. on Folly Road on James Island. That protest was cut short when rain chased the protesters inside a Taco Bell restaurant.

Police soon arrived and many protesters left.

"I have four reasons to do whatever it takes to win $15 an hour and union rights: Cherish, Treasure, Promise, and Maziha -- my daughters. I am leading the fight for $15 in Charleston because I refuse to allow the cycle of worker exploitation to continue," Delesline said.