Gov. Pat McCrory weighs in on NAACP's 'moral' protests
RALEIGH -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is not impressed with the state chapter of the NAACP's weeks-long protest of the conservative policies of the Republican-led General Assembly.
His comments come a day after more than 100 people were arrested at the largest demonstration yet.
Police estimated that roughly 1,000 people attended a rally late Monday afternoon behind the Legislative Building on Halifax Mall. Hundreds then entered the building. In all, 151 people were arrested outside the doors to the state Senate chambers, where demonstrators chanted, sang and delivered speeches decrying what they called a regressive agenda that neglects the poor.
Activist groups estimated the crowd at about 1,600.
On Tuesday, McCrory said people refusing to leave when ordered consumes a lot of resources.
"We welcome feedback, we welcome lawful demonstrations," he said. "However, we don't welcome unlawful demonstrations, and that should not be accepted."
McCrory added that he is not interested in speaking with the group.
"No," he said. "I am pleased that it's been non-violent, though, and that's the second most important parameter. That it be lawful and non-violent. I'm very pleased with the way the authorities have handled it, in a non-violent manner."
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been holding weekly protests in Raleigh since mid-April, and what started with 17 arrests and tens of supporters back then has grown every week, bringing the total number of arrests to nearly 300 in five weeks.
Those arrested have been charged with second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse and violations of building rules.
Protesters have been seeking to call attention to the rightward shift of the state legislature, and say they're on the moral high ground.
"To give people hope," said demonstrator Rev. Willard Bass from Winston-Salem. "I think that non-violent civil disobedience is a way to get some traction."
Groups ranging from abortion-rights supporters to environmentalists and public educators have joined the rallies, which have attracted people from all over North Carolina and other states.
"We have people here from as far away as New York, California and Florida," said NAACP Chapter President Rev. William Barber.
Barber has said his group is researching challenges to the arrests based in part on constitutional provisions that say citizens have a right to "instruct" their legislators.
Barber is among those arrested in the first wave of protests headed to court in late June.
In the meantime, it appears the Monday rallies will continue.
"It could be even bigger next week," Charlotte demonstrator Jeff Jennings said. "They could have 200 people getting arrested!"
Meanwhile, McCrory mentioned that he has met with a couple of members of the Legislative Black Caucus, but said, those people came when the camera appeared and then left when the cameras disappeared.
general assembly, inside politics
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