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'Moral Monday' protesters cited, released for sit-in at McCrory's office

Posted June 2
Updated June 3

— About 30 “Moral Monday” protesters slowly made their way inside the Capitol building Monday afternoon, singing a rendition of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” to deliver a letter asking Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders to repeal a number of “harmful policies.”

And most of them didn’t leave. At least not right away.

“We cannot, in good faith, leave this space until Governor McCrory repeals these laws,” one protester said.

At 5:07 p.m., a State Capitol Police officer told the group to leave after announcing that the building was closed. About two hours later, the 11 protesters who remained were taken into custody, cited for trespassing and released.

As they left, dozens attending the Moral Monday rally outside the legislative building walked to the Capitol and embraced them with chants and songs.

"I stand here today for those who could not be here to say Governor McCrory, stop it," said Serena Sebring, a N.C. State University sociology professor who was among those cited.

Prior to their arrests, the group sat and stood in the building’s rotunda, reading statements asking McCrory to veto and repeal legislation related to fracking, coal ash and the denial of Medicaid funds. One held “coal ash cupcakes” in a plastic container. Others held signs that read “Repent, Repeal, Restore.”

Lawmakers last week approved a fast-tracked bill allowing for fracking in North Carolina, a measure McCrory said he supports. In March, McCrory signed a bill prohibiting Medicaid expansion or state involvement in health exchanges. McCrory has also been criticized for not taking tougher action regarding a February spill at a Duke Energy power plant that sent an estimated 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Monday’s sit-in comes one week after 14 people were arrested after a nearly 11-hour sit-in at House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office last Tuesday. Dubbed the “Tillis 15,” the group refused multiple requests by police to leave, and all but one were arrested at about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday. Each was charged with second-degree trespassing and violation of building rules.

The letters, separately addressed to McCory, Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, asked legislative leaders to repeal a number of “extremist policies,” including the state’s denial of federal Medicaid funds, cutting unemployment benefits, the approval of fracking and the repeal of the Racial Justice Act. 

Protesters attempted to deliver letters to Tillis' and Berger's offices but the legislative building was closed.

Tillis and Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam could not be reached for comment.

“We recognize that reversing these actions will not solve every problem that our state faces,” the letter to McCrory said. “We ask that you reverse course because your actions have made challenging situations even more painful for so many. We call on you today to reverse course by repenting, repealing and restoring our state to higher ground by eliminating the laws and policies pushed by this N.C. Legislature, led by Speaker Tillis and Senate Leader Berger and signed by you.”

Monday's sit-in followed a press conference where state NAACP President William Barber promised more action regarding Moral Monday efforts. He described legislative action related to fracking, coal ash and Medicaid as "matters of life and death."

“There will be increased activity because we are not going anywhere,” he said. “If they don’t change, we hope they will, but we will make sure that everyone in the state and this country knows the extremism they’re engaged in. When they go to the polls in their communities, they will be totally informed of the wrong direction we must correct.

62 Comments

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  • razor2 Jun 2, 5:54 p.m.

    When Ideology causes harm to people we as Americans stand together and fight to protect the innocent as proven by the War's that we have been involved in for the past ten years.
    Yet we have an Ideology problem here in the state of N.C. and people are being harmed by it why are we so divided ?

  • PanthersFan45 Jun 2, 6:01 p.m.

    It is of my opinion that this will help the Republicans in the long run. Nothing wrong with protesting but these people are clearly trying to push every rule to its limit including trespassing and being as disruptive as possible to the legislative process. Has it ever occurred to these people that the reason many democrats were voted out because they were doing a poor job ? I suggest re-tooling for the next election and getting a better message instead of the failed policies that got them voted out of office to begin with. Keep in mind these Republicans got swept in to office with democratic drawn districts. They needed to gain control BEFORE they could redraw lines. Think about that.

  • Ijaz Fahted Jun 2, 6:15 p.m.

    When Ideology causes harm to people we as Americans stand together and fight to protect the... View More

    — Posted by razor2

    That's a good question. In a family you will find infighting (siblings, parent/children), but when an outside force causes problems the family in most cases will unite against the outside force.

    I would love to see an end to this partisan squabbling. It helps no one and only further hurts the discussion.

  • PanthersFan45 Jun 2, 6:22 p.m.

    At 5:07 p.m., a State Capitol Police officer advised the group that the building was closed and asked them to leave. Some left, but 13 remained.

    Translation - there will likely be 13 arrests for breaking the law, NOT protesting policies.

  • disgusted2010 Jun 2, 6:27 p.m.

    Perhaps these people would be better served attending a civics class rather than throwing temper tantrums.

    They need a civics class to teach them the Governor had nothing to do with repealing laws. Shows they are just followers without enough to do.

  • Well I. D'Clare Jun 2, 7:03 p.m.

    When Ideology causes harm to people we as Americans stand together and fight to protect the... View More

    — Posted by razor2

    -

    Were it pure ideology, they'd have been picketing when the Dems made mistakes, and they didn't.

    That means it's closer to political than ideological.

  • timmystrickland4022 Jun 2, 7:30 p.m.

    these protesters are just wasting thier time and breath, they will never repeal anything

  • heelsrule Jun 2, 7:31 p.m.

    If the news media would STOP giving free publicity to these folks they would eventually tire of their antics and go home. As long as the TV cameras are there they will continue to show up.

  • timexliving Jun 2, 7:42 p.m.

    If the news media would STOP giving free publicity to these folks they would eventually tire of... View More

    — Posted by heelsrule

    True. Makes you wonder if local media agrees with these extremists.

  • disgusted2010 Jun 2, 8:05 p.m.

    If the news media would STOP giving free publicity to these folks they would eventually tire of... View More

    — Posted by heelsrule

    Why, they are pursuing the same agenda as WRAL and keeping them in news stories.

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