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Are 'Moral Monday' protests homegrown?

June 12, 2013 12:07:36 PM PDT
Organizers of the "Moral Monday" protests at the General Assembly are now firing back at Gov. Pat McCrory and other critics. The NAACP says the overwhelming majority of the arrests are North Carolinians, not out-of-staters as some have suggested.

Over 400 have been arrested in six weeks of protests, but who are they?

Moral Monday organizers call themselves a cross-section of North Carolina -- White, Black, Latino, young and old. They say they are all angered by the Republican legislative agenda.

"These protests are just prefabricated direct partisan attacks," said Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope.

The new head of the state GOP thinks they are outside agitators as Republicans push back hard.

In an op-ed piece in the Chatham Journal, New Hanover County Republican Senator Thom Goolsby calls the protests, "Moron Monday," and last weekend, McCrory called protestors "outsiders."

"All they're left to do is try to bring in outside group, whether they're from Pennsylvania or from other parts of the state, union protestors, basically professional agitators," said Pope.

ABC11 went looking for evidence of protestors from out-of-state, and didn't find much.

In the court records from the 84 arrests Monday, four protesters were from out of state -- two were from Georgia, one from Tennessee, and another from Colorado.

Organizers say of the 400 people arrested in total less than 10 have lived outside of North Carolina. They accuse Republicans of trying to delegitimize their movement.

"This is a common for the ultra-right and extreme," said N.C. NAACP President William Barber. "They can't defend their policies. So when you can't do that, then you attempt to deflect and distort the records."

Many viewers are asking about the price tag of Moral Mondays -- the extra police, the court costs.

The biggest budget burden may be with the small General Assembly police force. It has spent $11,000 of its limited budget on overtime -- that was the first four weeks. They have stopped counting now.

Raleigh police and the Wake County Sheriff's Office have assisted in security.  The Raleigh Police Department has spent over $31,000. The Wake Sheriff's Office has spent over $20,000 in extra man hours.

The price tag and the political stakes are rising as protestors insist they're not quitting any time soon.

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