More than 80 arrested at NC NAACP demonstrations
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans are pushing back harder against weekly protests as another group of demonstrators aligned with the state NAACP face police charges.
Many in the group of 84 people arrested Monday at the state legislature were clergy who say the Republican-controlled General Assembly is making policies that hurt the poor and children.
"Biblically, we speak of a time when we care for the least of these, that we care for those who cannot care from themselves," said Rev. Clarence Shuford, of St. Phillip AME Zion in Greensboro.
The arrests bring the total over six rounds of near-weekly demonstrations to more than 350. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a growing number of left-leaning groups are lashing out at a host of GOP policies ranging from education to voting rights.
Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield spoke at the rally and former Congressman Bob Etheridge joined protesters in delivering education petitions to Gov. Pat McCrory's office.
Butterfield called proposed GOP legislation "absolutely disgusting" and "devastating to low-income people."
He also said his colleagues in Washington are taking notice.
"It is a widespread movement that is gaining momentum," Butterfield said. "The nation is watching."
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the party's newly elected chairman have labeled the group outside agitators who don't speak for a majority of North Carolinians. Republicans built on their 2010 legislative takeover with veto-proof majorities and a win in the governor's race.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said lawmakers have heard reports that many of the protesters are from out of state and that they aren't having any effect on Republicans in the legislature.
State Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Republican from Wilmington, has called the demonstrations "Moron Mondays" and the protesters "aging hippies."
Brown said Goolsby is entitled to his opinion, but that he supports citizens' right to protest.
"I guess it's what makes this country great," Brown said. "Everyone has their point of view."
Charlotte Observer reporter Tim Funk was reportedly arrested as he covered the event.