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Moral Monday protest mobilizes over 1000 to protest NC legislature

By Kosta Harlan |
June 18, 2013
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Rev. Curtis Gatewood speaks to the crowd assembled outside the NC Legislature.
Rev. Curtis Gatewood speaks to the crowd assembled outside the NC Legislature. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Protesters chant in support of those who were arrested for civil disobedience.
Protesters chant in support of those who were arrested for civil disobedience.

Raleigh, NC – 84 people were arrested today, June 17, during the 7th wave of Moral Monday protests, while over 1000 rallied outside the North Carolina legislature to protest the right-wing policies being carried out by the Republican majority. While police loaded up buses with the arrested protesters, hundreds chanted, "You're gonna need another bus, 'cause baby there are more of us!"

With devastating efficiency, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate and Republican Governor Pat McCrory are rolling back progressive laws and regulations across the board: workers’ rights, equal access to education, unemployment benefits, environmental protection, health care access, voting rights and racial justice are all under unprecedented attack from a legislature that is dominated by ‘free market' ideology.

The June 17 protest was the seventh in a wave of weekly protests organized by Reverend William Barber and the North Carolina NAACP. The theme of this week's protest was on environmental and health care justice. Thousands have mobilized from across the state to protest the legislature since the first Moral Monday on April 29. To date more than 480 people have been arrested for acts of civil disobedience.

Evan Kolosna, an organizer with the University of North Carolina-Asheville Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the North Carolina Student Power Union, told Fight Back!, “This is directly affecting us as students - the budget cuts are targeting our schools, so I would say to other fellow students: 'Come out here and fight for your education and your future.’”

There were about two dozen health care workers at the demonstration today, holding signs saying "Health care is a right" and "GOP Rx for NC = Bad medicine."

"What is happening with the legislature now, with the Republican majority, is a travesty of justice," said Mohan Chilukuri, a health care worker, "because they are denying healthcare to 500,000 people that would have been eligible under the Affordable Care Act." Chilukuri called on physicians to come out and protest the legislature and Governor McCrory.

With next week's demonstration focused on workers’ rights and the attacks on organized labor by the legislature, the Moral Monday protests are set to continue for the coming weeks. The rallying cry of the demonstrators is, "Forward together, not one step back!"

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