NAACP president arrested at legislature

Posted May 24, 2011 4:27 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2011 7:28 a.m. EDT

— The state president of the NAACP was among a group of people arrested Tuesday afternoon during a protest at the General Assembly.

State Capitol Police escorted about a half-dozen people, including North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber, from the House gallery after shouts of protest erupted over the state budget.

The arrests came shortly before an NAACP-sponsored rally at the Legislative Building.

Barber has called the budget the House passed three weeks ago "a frontal assault on economic justice in North Carolina." He and other protesters said House Speaker Thom Tillis has ignored repeated requests for a sit-down meeting about the budget.

“Today’s disruption was one of the most disrespectful displays I have witnessed during my tenure in the House of Representatives," Tillis said in a statement. "It was a clear violation of the rules of the House, and those rules will continue to be enforced to ensure safety and dignity in the people’s House.”

Officers refused to allow state Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, or Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, to talk with the protesters before they were led away.

Barber and the others arrested were released from jail around midnight, according to a Wake County magistrate.

Barber sent an email to the media announcing that he and the others arrested would be holding a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh.