30 arrested while protesting laws they say hurt poor, children

lbonner@newsobserver.comMay 6, 2013 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The number of arrests mentioned in this article has been revised from 27 to 30 at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

RALEIGH -- Thirty people protesting laws they said hurt children and poor people were arrested at the Legislative Building on Monday night in front of a crowd of supporters.

This is the second protest in as many weeks organized by the state NAACP that resulted in arrests. More than 100 people filled the rotunda on the second floor of the Legislative Building to sing and pray. People blocking the gold doors to the Senate chamber were arrested, their hands bound by plastic ties, after they did not disburse when ordered by General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver.

Weaver said they each would be charged with three misdemeanors.

Fellow protesters clapped and cheered friends who were lead away. Sen. Earline Parmon, a Winston-Salem Democrat, and Rep. Garland Pierce, a Scotland County Democrat and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, mingled with crowd. The demonstration was over before the House and Senate sessions began.

Among those arrested were: William Chafe, a former Duke University dean; Dr. Charles van der Horst, a professor at the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill; and Tye Hunter, executive director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.

All were there to protest “the avalanche of extremist policies” coming from the legislature, said the Rev. William Barber, NAACP president. Among the laws and proposals they opposed are the decision not to expand Medicaid to working class people, the proposed voter ID law, and the move to repeal the Racial Justice Act, which deals with race and the death penalty.

Legislators “turned their backs” on 500,000 people who need health insurance, said van der Horst. Legislators say they believe in the sanctity of life, van der Horst said, when “what they believe in is protecting their own wealth.”

Barber said there will be more demonstrations. The legislature has shown no signs of changing course as a result of the protests.

Rep. Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican and the House Rules Committee chairman, said the protesters are “good folks who feel strongly about what they believe,” but should have chosen a different way to show their disagreement.

Bonner: 919-829-4821

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