Five arrested in downtown Raleigh protest

Posted March 24, 2016 8:18 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2016 7:04 a.m. EDT

— Five people were arrested after protesters blocked North Blount Street in front of the governor’s mansion in downtown Raleigh Thursday evening in response to Gov. Pat McCrory signing the state discrimination bill into law Wednesday night.

Jade Brooks, 30, of Durham, Salma Mirza, 28, of Durham, Ngoc Tran, 20, of Durham, Jessica Jude, 27, of Durham, and Noah Rubin-Blose, 32, of Hillsborough, were charged with impeding the flow of traffic and with resisting, delaying or obstructing officers. All five were transported to the Wake County Detention Center.

Officials said the arrests were made after the five protesters, who chained themselves to one another in the middle of the street, refused to disperse.

All five protestors were released on a written promise to appear in court on Monday.

The law codifies a statewide nondiscrimination policy in employment and public accommodations, excluding gays and lesbians from protection, and prohibits North Carolina cities or towns from enacting stricter guidelines.

A small group of people in the middle of the protesters that showed up on Wednesday night were one-by-one arrested and carried away.

"All of these people are angry. They are upset," said Micky Bee of the Transgender Law Center. "They have been left out of the democratic process."

Republican backers say the bill is about public safety.

Elizabeth Clements said she is not directly affected by the law, but she traveled from Charlotte to stand alongside the protesters.

"Our communities are strong, our communities are resilient, and our communities want solutions that include them," Bee said."This is hate and bigotry."

Opponents of the bill say it eliminates many other discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

“Standing with North Carolina parents who are worried about the privacy and safety of their children will always be a top priority for the governor, no matter the spin by the media, pundits or politically correct crowd,” said Ricky Diaz, deputy campaign manager of communications for McCrory.

The legislation was in response to an ordinance passed last month by Charlotte City Council that determined how business treat LGBT customers and included a provision that allows transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.