Hundreds attend final Moral Monday protest of year

The North Carolina NAACP and its allies won a round in court Monday against state officials.
December 23, 2013 3:56:45 PM PST
Moral Monday protesters brought their Medicaid battle against Gov. Pat McCrory to the front steps of his office Monday.

However, staging the rally at the State Capitol was only possible after some courtroom drama.

With a little more than a week left in the year, it's becoming less and less likely the policies the protestors are fighting to stop will be undone.

But they were fighting today anyway, first in the courtroom, then here at the Capitol.

They came by the hundreds on a holiday week and in the rain.  They were armed with a message for the governor.

"Don't shut it down McCrory, you can do it," said Chatham County resident Martha Girolami.

In the last Moral Monday rally of the year, protestors made a last-ditch push for McCrory to call a special legislative session before the year runs out.

The group wants the Republican-led General Assembly to undo cuts to unemployment benefits and to expand Medicaid insurance for the poor as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

"It's really horrible that unemployment payments weren't continued," said Girolami. "All these things are just so bad."

The rally Monday evening outside the governor's offices at the State Capitol almost didn't happen. The state denied the original request -- insisting the crowd was too large. Protestors were told to rally on Halifax Mall instead.

However, the NAACP filed a court complaint and Monday afternoon the judge ruled on the side protestors.

"Nobody wants to go back in some football field away from where the power is. The power is at the State Capitol," said Al McSurely, with the N.C. NAACP.

"Well, we would respectfully disagree with the ruling and of course we're going to take that under advisement as we make future decisions on permits," said Chris Mears with the Department of the Administration.

Despite the win in court, McCrory's office repeated he has no intention of calling a special session. McCrory spokesman Rick Martinez criticized the protesters.

"These are the same left-wing political groups that are wanting to keep the failed policies of the past that put people out of work," Martinez said. "Instead, Governor McCrory is working to strengthen the economy so more North Carolinians can earn a paycheck instead of hoping for a government check."

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