HB2 protesters close Franklin Street for hours

Posted March 29
Updated March 30


— Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street was closed for nearly three hours Tuesday night as demonstrators gathered in protest of the state’s new anti-discrimination law.

With signs, banners and the power of their numbers and voices, hundreds walked onto Franklin Street near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus in protest of House Bill 2.

“We are fed up and we are not going to take it anymore,” said protester Maveryk Tell.

The crowd made their way to Columbia Street, where they formed a circle. People took turns telling their stories over a microphone. Tell was among those who spoke out.

“We have been marginalized and pushed to the sides of society,” Tell said.

House Bill 2 was approved last week and designed to overturn Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance. While those who support the bill say it promotes safety in bathrooms and locker rooms, people in the crowd that gathered Tuesday night said it discriminates against the LGBTQ community.

“I feel betrayed by my state and I feel betrayed by my leadership,” said protester Lara Nazario.

Many said the passage of the legislation was hurtful, but Nazario said the reaction to the bill has changed that.

“Despite the bill that passed and despite all the people who seem to be against us, there are so many people that are for us and it fills my heart with so much joy to see that,” Nazario said.

UNC College Republicans’ chairman Frank Pray, a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, issued a statement of support for House Bill 2 Tuesday night, in light of the protests.

“The reason we are seeing protests like the one held today at UNC Chapel Hill is because leftists across North Carolina, spurred on by the likes of Roy Cooper and Mayor Pan Hemminger, have purposefully spread misinformation regarding House Bill 2,” the statement said. “The fact of the matter is that all House Bill 2 does is protect women and children across North Carolina from predators invading their privacy and establish statewide non-discrimination policies to protect all North Carolinians.

The protest wrapped up just after 9:30 p.m. There was no information immediately available about whether any arrests were made during the event.


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  • Jacob Smirnov Mar 30, 2016
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    closing down streets and protesting - here's a slogan for you people:


  • Roy Pine Mar 30, 2016
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    Then put it to a ballot referendum instead of a rushed 12-hour bill-to-law process.

    And let's have sufficient time to have public debate on the ACTUAL text of the law, not just what people's interpretations of it are. Y'know....those things that the legislature is supposed to do.

  • Hamilton Bean Mar 30, 2016
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    I've said many times previously, and I'll say it again---these individuals have every right to gather and protest whatever nebulous, esoteric issue they wish to holler about. But there are limits. They do not have the right to interfer or prohibit my freedom of passage on public streets or roads. As has happened in other areas, when some of these unique individuals get hit with a car or truck because they are blocking the roads, well, its nobody's fault but their own. At some point the LEO's will have to begin doing their jobs and keeping the streets clear and open, or they would be well advised to have several Emergency Service vehicles and personnel available.

  • Dan Wilder Mar 30, 2016
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    The people who were not able to use a public street due to the protest were real people too who had every right to use that road without hindrance. The protesters had no right to try to force their issues on other uninvolved people. If they want to voice their opinions then that is their right as long as it doesn't affect others. All that is going to happen is to make people upset by being disrupted by the protesters and want to get back at them.

  • Matt Nickeson Mar 30, 2016
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    It is rather sad how there is no room for discussion in today's environment. I personally have become increasingly disgusted with the blind adherence to ideology on both sides. Thought and reason are rare in these discussions. While I harbor no special affection for either side I do find the hypocrisy of pseudo-open mindedness and intellectualism on the left to be particularly annoying. If you are going to be closed minded and dogmatic at least own up to it.

  • David McCabe Mar 30, 2016
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    Meanwhile, "thousands" are in the streets protesting. FTFY

    Ridiculous exaggerations like this one are the reason the majority of people don't take stuff like this seriously or just don't believe what people who support these issues have to say. It's always exaggeration, taking too much license with regard to the facts and their behaviors right out of the gate. Discussion is impossible and while proclaiming that everyone else should make effort to be accepting of their opinions absolutely no effort is being made to even hear dissenting opinion. They have decided that the conversation is over, they are in the right, and anyone who doesn't agree is subhuman.

  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 30, 2016
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    McCrory claims he is getting lots of support for this law, but he isn't naming names and no company has stepped out to show support.

    Franklin Street was closed down by real people showing real opposition for this law, and they're very public and in the news.

    That's what it did. McCrory mentions "supporters" who don't seem to exist, other than hiding behind the keyboard in a message board, discrediting his attempted optic of having broad support.

  • Arron Lee Mar 30, 2016
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    And you think these college students know about life and politics? NOT!!! Go back to class and be thankful you can go to college.

  • Barry Smith Mar 30, 2016
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    I can't wait to see someones head explode when a GIRL with a beard and no chest walks into the bathroom behind their wife\daughter! Same thing goes for women seeing a beautiful man, with a pair of all natural double D's walk into the mens room behind their husbands!!! Sorry to all the LGBT folks in NC that this discriminates against but could you at least use the bathroom in public places as often as possible, entertainment value and all ya know!!! Giggles

  • Dan Wilder Mar 30, 2016
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    So how does blocking streets bring people to your side of the argument? Free speech does not include physically blocking other peoples paths and public streets. You will not bring them to your side.. you will actually do the opposite by making them angry at you. By blocking the road, you know in advance you are provoking retaliation and confrontation. If that's what you are looking for then fine but then don't go crying when you get your face beat in.