Raleigh, N.C. — 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.