RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Nearly a dozen people were cited by police Monday when they refused to leave North Carolina's state Capitol building as they tried to ask Gov. Pat McCrory personally to reverse Republican government policies, including fracking and the refusal to expand Medicaid.
The eleven protesters, part of the continuing "Moral Monday" series of rallies, staged their latest sit-in for more than two hours inside the old 1840 Capitol, where McCrory's office is located. While the sit-in was going on, several hundred other demonstrators rallied behind the Legislative Building in opposition to fracking and in support of expanding Medicaid in the state.
Justin Miller of Charlotte, an environmental activist and one of Monday's sit-in protesters, said State Capitol Police charged those cited with the same offense. The citation he received showed he was charged with second-degree trespassing, a low-grade misdemeanor.
"I got to the point where doing everything within the law ... doesn't do anything and so I decided to take a stand," Miller said.
The group entered the rotunda of the Capitol, gathered in a circle and sang and prayed, saying they would not leave until McCory granted the repeals they requested. At 5 p.m. Monday, both the Capitol building and Legislative building closed. Capitol police broke up the sing-along and shuffled dozens of protesters and press members out of the rotunda, then shut the doors with 11 demonstrators still inside.
The protesters were handcuffed and released in two groups from different entrances at the Capitol, pink citation slips in hand about two hours later. Just after the sit-in protesters were released, people from the other rally joined those at the Capitol building and the whole group marched around it singing and cheering.