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19 'Moral Monday' protesters arrested at NC Legislature after ruling

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NAACP President the Rev. William Barber watches as the N.C. Senate convenes. (Beau Minnick, WNCN) NAACP President the Rev. William Barber watches as the N.C. Senate convenes. (Beau Minnick, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Just days after a Superior Court judge struck down new building rules enacted by the General Assembly, 19 Moral Monday protesters were arrested outside the doors of the state Senate chamber.

Last week, Wake County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox granted a temporary restraining order over new rules governing protests at the General Assembly.

Lawyers from the North Carolina NAACP asked for the order, saying that the new rules implemented by the Republican-led General Assembly would limit certain demonstrations.

Monday night, protesters put that restraining order to the test as hundreds streamed into the second and third-floor rotunda of the Legislative Building.

As the Senate convened for its evening session, the demonstrators started chanting and singing. The actions sparked officers to ask the protesters on several occasions to lower their voices, and ultimately to leave the building because they were in violation of the building rules.

In all, 19 protesters were arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing. Police said the demonstrators were arrested for being disruptive.

"I'm saddened that it has come to this before the people that we elected realize that we are tired of it," said demonstrator Cheri Baker.

Monday's demonstration was focused on workers' rights, including unemployment, raising the minimum wage and Medicaid expansion.

"It takes the masses of people to come together to make changes in this world," demonstrator Lanella Smith said. "We're dealing with a society where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer."

Conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity contests that the economy has improved since Republicans took control of the General Assembly and governor's office.

"We have a larger labor force," said Donald Bryson, with Americans for Prosperity. "There are more people employed in North Carolina, so North Carolina's economy is going forward and getting more people back on the job.

"It looks like whether these people at the Moral Monday protests are going to be kicking and screaming or not, the economy is moving forward."

NAACP President the Rev. William Barber said Monday that demonstrators will hold a mass sit-in in multiple lawmakers offices next week. Protesters have held sit-ins the previous three Moral Mondays.

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Beau Minnick

Beau covers the North Carolina legislature, delivering valuable insights into state politics. More>>

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