Raleigh, N.C. — "Moral Monday" organizers will do a “Sit-In, Stand-In, Teach-In, Plan-In, Pray-In” for this week protest inside the Legislative Building.
The event will mark 60 weeks of demonstrations led by the state NAACP to protest policies enacted by the Republican-led legislature, since they started on April 29, 2013. The peaceful protests often result in dozens of arrests after demonstrators ignore police commands to quietly leave the building.
Recent protests have focused on specific politicians:
- After a nearly 11 hour sit-in at House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office, 15 protesters were arrested during the early morning hours of May 28.
- The following Monday, 11 protesters were cited for trespassing after staging a sit-in inside the Capitol building. They wanted to deliver a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory asking him to repeal a number of “harmful policies.”
- On June 9, 15 protesters staged a “teach-in” outside Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s office with the intent of being arrested. But Berger spoke to the group for about an hour, and no arrests were made.
Lawmakers have tried to limit protests inside the Legislative Building, updating rules last revised in 1987 to allow police or staff to order people out of the building if any group makes enough noise to create a “disturbance,” hinder someone’s ability to have a conversation in a “normal tone of voice,” pose an “imminent threat” or if they’re holding signs.
Protesters countered the rules, which were passed before the legislative session’s first "Moral Monday" protest in May, by placing tape over their mouths and quietly marching through the building two-by-two.
One month later, after subsequent not-so-quiet protests, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox struck down some of the rules, describing them as overly broad and vague.
Last week, demonstrators sang, chanted and held signs while making their way to the second and third floors of the Legislative Building.
The result: 19 arrests.
Each weekly protest focuses on a particular topic, from natural gas drilling to public education to voter ID. The state NAACP plans to fight for a preliminary injunction to the voter ID law in federal district court later this year.
The group on Monday also plans to start a voter registration drive, dubbed the “Moral March to the Polls."