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Legislative protest ends in arrests

Posted May 30

— Protesters demanding state lawmakers expand Medicaid in North Carolina were arrested Tuesday during a demonstration at the Legislative Building.

Dozens of people, including physicians and clergy members, chanted "health care now" as they marched into the legislature at about 10 a.m.

The group, led by the state NAACP and other groups involved in the "Moral Monday" movement, was protesting Republican lawmakers' refusal to expand the Medicaid program as allowed under the Affordable Care Act to provide health coverage for more low-income people. They also decried congressional efforts to repeal the ACA.

"Denying 400,000 or 500,000 people health care just to take a political stand against 'Obamacare' was the wrong thing to do, and it's still the wrong thing to do," protester Matthew Boss said.

After warnings from the General Assembly Police that protestors were disrupting business outside the offices of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, arrests started.

Thirty-two protestors, including NAACP president Rev. William Barber, were led out of the building with their hands bound in plastic zip-ties and charged with second-degree trespassing.

"We are determined. Health care for all. Health care is a human right," said protester Wanda Brendle-Moss, who has HIV. "Without said health care, people living with this virus will start dying again, and we're not going to stand for that."

Although hundreds of people have been arrested in Moral Monday protests over the past several years, Tuesday's arrests were the first during 2017.

10 Comments

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  • John Donnee May 30, 6:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    I commend Rev Barber for being so involved in civil rights situations yet it bothers me that a man with his reputation does not actively develop and implement programs to encourage the growth of dual parent families. Too much crime occurs because weak parental mentoring.

  • Thomas Williams May 30, 6:31 p.m.
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    This doesn't seem news worthy any more. We have seen this scenario played out over and over and over. There is nothing more worth hearing about. More people who apparently don't have to work, or don't have much of anything worth while to do with their lives getting free TV coverage.

  • Michael Bawden May 30, 5:42 p.m.
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    For those that care to know, they are not being arrested for protesting, they are being arrested for not leaving tbe building at closing and therefore tresspassing, OR they are disrupting others from performing their first amendment rights or civil liberties. If you know someone that just got arrested go to http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars.html and see what they were actually charged with.

  • William Sherman May 30, 3:48 p.m.
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    Because they think it applies solely to them, that their right to protest, disrupt, trespass supercedes the rights of any and all others who disagree with them. Uneducated commentj?? You would do well to read up on the subject of the First Amendment as well as the Constitution--you might learn something..

  • Ed Smail May 30, 2:59 p.m.
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    The job of the state government is to have a balanced budget. If they can run a surplus that is even better. Liberals want to spend, spend, spend. But at what point do taxpayers say, that is enough. Why do taxpayers have to continue to pay for increases in entitlement programs? The real conversation that is needed is why do these programs need more and more taxpayer dollars, the lose of good paying middle class manufacturing jobs is a good starting point.

  • Scott Patterson May 30, 2:34 p.m.
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    The lower educated base of the Conservatives are out of touch with reality and thus have nothing to protest. Let see what it looks like after the ACHA goes though... bet you people come out your shanties then.

  • John Jones May 30, 2:30 p.m.
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    Why is it always the liberals protesting? Why don't we hear of Conservatives rioting, protesting and blocking roads in issues they don't agree with? someone please enlighten me.

  • Janet Ghumri May 30, 2:22 p.m.
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    Rev. Barber arrested? I'm waiting on his 'statement'

  • Scott Patterson May 30, 2:01 p.m.
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    Who else got punished for invoking their 1st amendment rights? I would think a legislative building would be privy to protests... since it is a state funded building... Not sure the point of your uneducated comment of "seems to think that the first amendment applies only to them."

  • Albert Holmes May 30, 12:35 p.m.
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    Why arrest them if you are not going to do nothing with them. Keep them in jail for 30 days and let them lose their job and get behind on their bills. THEN maybe they will quit.