Raleigh, N.C. — Eighty-four people were arrested at the General Assembly on Monday in the seventh week of protests aimed at the policies of the Republican-controlled legislature.
Organized by the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, the “Moral Monday” demonstrations showed no signs of slowing down. Nearly 500 people have been arrested since the events began in April.
“This isn’t five or 10 people. This is thousands of people,” said Raleigh resident Franky Echols, a first-time protester.
Opponents have called them outsiders and hippies, but warrants show 98 percent of the protesters arrested last week were from North Carolina.
Protesters this week said they want to make it clear who they are.
“Born in North Carolina. Raised here,” said Chris Carter, a Burlington resident who marched to criticize environmental legislation proposed by Republicans. He joined others who rallied for health care and education.
Cyrus King, 90, has been to all seven of the demonstrations.
"I just think the legislature is doing damage to our state and our people,” said King, who lives in Raleigh.
During the demonstration, several surveyors dressed in orange shirts strolled through the crowd to compile data. They asked protesters who they were and where they were from.
“I have talked to 45 people, and only one is from out of state,” surveyor Bill Westermeyer said.
JoAnne Clayton of Pittsboro teaches in Raleigh. She planned to be arrested to make her point to lawmakers.
"This is worth it,” she said. "This is worth it."
Clayton was upset at teacher pay and a proposal to allow guns on some educational campuses.
"We have not gotten raises in years and years,” she said. “They are putting our lives in danger.”
Amid the chants and cheers, an officer cuffed her hands and carried her away
Protestors believe if people know who they are, change will happen.
“I have to believe that,” King said.
Republican leaders declined to comment Monday.