NAACP protest at legislature nets 30 arrests; rally planned

Posted May 6, 2013
Updated May 7, 2013

— More than two dozen members of the NAACP and other activists were arrested Monday as part of continuing protests of Republican policies in the state capital, bringing to nearly 50 the number of nonviolent demonstrators facing charges.

The protestors were arrested Monday by Raleigh and General Assembly police. The number of arrests, as well as the size of the crowd that turned out to offer support, grew from last Monday's demonstrations, when 17 were arrested.

Many of those arrested last week, including the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, were among the more than 80 people who crowded into the Legislative Building rotunda leading to the Senate chambers to observe and join in chants of protest.

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver said law enforcement officials decided to admit them despite last week's incidents while they determine what the law permits. He said those arrested most recently will face the same charges of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and the displaying of signs or placards, which violates building rules.

The group arrested Monday included Barber's 20-year-old son, William Joseph Barber III, a student at North Carolina Central University; William Chafe, former dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke University; Robert Korstad, a professor of public policy and history at Duke; Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, an historian at the University of North Carolina; Charles van der Horst, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and members of the social justice group Raging Grannies.

"I started in 1954 at the Youth March for Integrated Schools in New York," said Vicki Ryder of Raging Grannies. "I've been doing this for a long time."

She and her fellow protestors directed their anger at the GOP-controlled legislature, which has refused to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to more poor people, has cut unemployment benefits, has ended the earned income tax credit and has passed new voting restrictions. Republicans have controlled the Legislature since 2011. Protests Despite arrests, protests to continue at NC legislature

Van der Horst said those policies, in addition to efforts to restrict access to abortion, expose hypocrisy within the GOP ranks.

"These people don't believe in the sanctity of life," he said. "They believe in protecting their own wealth and their own power."

Linda Parker who works as a college minster, says she has seen students hurt from cuts to education. 

"Many people are suffering across the board," she said after being released from custody early Tuesday. "It's not a time to shrink back, but we have to move forward and those of us who have a voice must use our voice on their behalf."

Rat Donheiser called her first arrest "an honor," saying that she came to Monday's protest to oppose fracking. 

"What is it going to take for lawmakers to listen and respond in a way that you would want them to respond?" she said. "It's a great question. I hope somebody knows the answer. I'm willing to try whatever it takes."

Jordan Shaw, communications director for House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, referred questions to law enforcement officials.

Protest announcements followed the House passage of a bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, which many Democrats and civil rights leaders equate to a poll tax.

Barber said demonstrations with the potential for arrests will continue despite strong GOP opposition, but the hope is to sway Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to intervene or encourage legislators to repeal the laws they've passed.

Opponents of the legislature are planning another rally for 7 p.m. Tuesday, but Barber said they don't plan to enter the legislature.

"If they don't, our goal is simple, which is always the goal of nonviolent civil disobedience, is to shine the unavoidable moral light on that which is wrong until it is so clear to everyone how people have misused their power," he said.

The NAACP will announce details of a tour to press Republican lawmakers in their home districts Tuesday.


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  • this is fdup May 8, 2013

    I understand many people have strong views about these issues and the people should express their dipleasure/ disagreement with the government if they have a different view however you do not have to break the law to protest. There are better ways than getting arrested

  • brentf777 May 8, 2013

    I am thankful the Marxist anti-white hate group known as the NAACP was shown that they are not above the law. Protesting outside the Capitol is one thing, protesting INSIDE the Capitol and disrupting legislators from doing their jobs is another matter entirely and not acceptable. The reason these race-baiting hate mongers are raising such a ruckus is we're winning the battle against them. If we can just hold out until the Boomers demise, the NAACP will become extinct. Also, I wonder how many of those academic liberals are actually natives of this State? My guess is 1 or none. All the crusading Yankees need to go back to Yankeeland and take their poisonous social Marxist views with them. Most native North Carolinans have enough common sense to reject that garbage. Stay strong conservative North Carolinians!

  • Dnut May 8, 2013

    Power to the people! The REAL citizens of NC will not allow our rights as individuals to be undermined by the GOP!!!!!!
    May 7, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    >>>Real citizens, just what are you emplying?

  • beachboater May 8, 2013

    "Although you are unable to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater, that does not preclude one being able to have their First Amendment rights abridged simply because one is in a building. There is no comparison between the two."

    These groups are intentionally trying to prevent the legislature from doing the job they were ELECTED to do. And it did take more than FIFTY votes to elect them.

    I am a business owner. If a group of protestors entered my building and started chanting,interupting my business, I can assure you they would be out the door poste haste. Whether by the police, or by my secretary swinging a broom. They would be GONE!!!

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again03 May 8, 2013

    "How is hold signs in a public building even remotely similar?"

    Because it is not allowed by law. It interferes with government business.

    There are ways to LEGALLY protest. There are ways to utilize freedom of speech to peacefully protest that do not break laws. If it is a legal protest, a permit may be obtained for it in advance. You don't just show up at a government office and clog the hallways. And to be honest, it may even be a fire hazard to have a large number of people blocking the hallways of a public building. So in a sense, it is more like yelling FIRE in a theater than you first thought.

    But the main issue is that they need to do it LEGALLY. I'm not suggesting anyone was in danger of burning up in a fire during the protest.

  • BernsteinIII May 8, 2013

    "You're trying to defend these protestors under the guise of freedom of speech, but their actions are akin to that of yelling FIRE in a theater." TBK

    How? Yelling "fire" in a theater causes harm to the theater goers. How is hold signs in a public building even remotely similar?

  • downtowner May 8, 2013

    I was watching video of the arrests on the news, it was mostly elderly white ladies and old white men being arrested. Not your typical NAACP protest. Refreshing to see.

  • bowslinger70 May 7, 2013

    I think the colleges should look at some of these protesters and re-think their employment.
    Thanks GOP--maybe soon I can bring home more of my own paycheck to my own family !

  • Ex-Republican May 7, 2013

    "Dr. Benjamin Carson 2016."

    jackpalmerpe, A Black Conservative for president? The Left has too much hatred to allow for that.

  • injameswetrust2003 May 7, 2013

    How could this be happening? How could all these new laws / policies be put into place? What is going on here?

    Oh, yea, these lawmakers were elected by the citizens of North Carolina.