Moral Monday protesters return to General Assembly, 60 arrested - WNCN: News, Weather

Moral Monday protesters return to General Assembly, 60 arrested

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Moral Monday demonstrators gather outside the North Carolina General Assembly. Moral Monday demonstrators gather outside the North Carolina General Assembly.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

More than 60 people were arrested during the latest Moral Monday demonstration at the North Carolina legislative building.

Many in the group of more than 60 arrested Monday at the Republican-controlled General Assembly were clergy. The arrests bring the total over six rounds of near-weekly demonstrations to more than 350.

More than 100 at last week's demonstration of 1,600 people.

During this week's protest, Congressman G.K. Butterfield showed up to support the effort.

"We are here today to express our views," Butterfield said. "This is the way we petition our government and we're going to so it very forcefully, not only today but every Monday going forward until we are heard."

Asked directly about a newspaper column from a state senator Thom Goolsby, who called the effort "Moron Monday," Butterfield said, "That's a poor choice of words. We have the same thing in Washington with congressmen making statements that are mean spirited. I would hope that this representative would not do that in the future."

Former congressman and state Superintendent Bob Etheridge is expected to be among those joining the schoolchildren in the petitions delivery.

 

The NAACP and primarily left-leaning groups have been protesting cuts to social programs, changes to voting laws and other issues championed by the GOP and the McCrory administration.

"Apparently our governor and speaker and Senate leader have decided they want to be George Wallaces of the 21st century," N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber said before the event. "They want to run a fresh, southern strategy right here in North Carolina that excludes rather than includes."

Barber was not scheduled to be at the rally Monday. He told supporters he was at a retreat in Tennessee to discuss how to organize and continue the protests.

After last week's demonstration, McCrory called for an end to the Moral Monday protests, calling them "unlawful." At his party's NC GOP convention in Charlotte Saturday, McCrory said he was not intimidated by the protests.

"They should not be blocking the business of North Carolina," McCrory said. "They are allowed to protest, but sometimes I think we congratulate people for blocking things and being unlawful."

McCrory's comments come as state Senator Thom Goolsby published an Op-Ed in the Chatham Journal calling the protests "Moron Monday," and referring to the activists as angry "hippies."

Democratic congressman Rep. G.K. Butterfield says he plans to join protesters this evening, making him the first elected federal official to join the protest.

"I've been deeply troubled by the severe and unilateral cuts being made by the Republican-led legislature in North Carolina," Butterfield said. "The cuts to healthcare, education and unemployment insurance, just to name a few, disproportionately target low-income people, many of whom I represent in the U. S. House of Representatives."

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