Moral Monday Protesters Sing And Chant In Legislative Building; 19 Arrested

Jun 17, 2014

Protesters gathered outside the Senate chamber on Monday to demonstrate against policies they say are regressive.
Credit Protesters gathered outside the Senate chamber to demonstrate against policies they say are regressive.

Nineteen Moral Monday protesters were arrested yesterday after demonstrating in the legislative building against budget proposals and policies passed by Republican-led General Assembly.

Dozens of protesters stomped, danced, and chanted at the very tops of their lungs, days after a superior court judge struck down new rules that prohibit loud activities and noises that would cause disturbances. The Wake County judge on Friday argued that the rules were unconstitutional, overly broad and vague.

Despite the temporary suspension of the rules, General Assembly officers say the 19 protesters were cited for being too disruptive. The noise could be heard throughout the building and Senate chamber, where legislators said they had trouble hearing one another.

Monday’s loud protests were focused on workers’ rights, including unemployment and raising the minimum wage.

Lt. Martin Brock, of the General Assembly Police, ordered the arrest of the protesters giving them multiple warnings and calmly asking them to leave.

One of the protesters arrested was 20-year-old Lindsay Ware with Raise Up, an organization that advocates for low-wage and fast-food workers.

“I would like to see that minimum wage get raised, that teachers get money. It's funny that my tuition went up, but may pay didn't. It's just not fair,” she said.

Republican lawmakers say raising teacher pay is a priority for the short session. They’ve come up with proposals that would increase salaries up to 11 percent. Senators propose making cuts to teacher assistant positions to pay for the raises, while House leaders are looking to increase revenues in the state’s lottery program.

NAACP President the Rev. William Barber said demonstrators will hold a mass sit-ins throughout the building in multiple lawmakers’ offices next week.