The latest in the string of government protests organized by the North Carolina NAACP led to some 140 arrests Monday
, after roughly 1,000 rallied behind the Legislative Building in Raleigh.
Police said hundreds of the protesters entered the building wearing green wrist bands, knowing they would be arrested, according to the News & Observer.
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The total number arrested since the rallies began in April, taking place every Monday, is about 300.
The purpose of the protests is to raise awareness and demand change regarding voting laws and other social issues. Protesters don't have a unified message, but instead a number of agendas, ranging from education spending to women’s rights to the elimination of the estate tax.
The N.C. Democratic Party, some political groups, student organizations, and labor unions are openly promoting the protests.
The North Carolina rallies draw similarities to the recall fight in Wisconsin but on a much smaller scale. Barber said North Carolina's civil rights battles of years past lend a historical depth to this movement.
“This ain’t Wisconsin,” he told the crowd, according to the News & Observer. “This is the South, where justice was hammered out.”
Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat who watched the protest from the sidelines, said each week Republicans seem to add more fuel to the fire, and the next step is to take the energy to the 2014 election.
“The key is if the legislature doesn’t listen ... then constituents need to start taking action to vote them out,” he said.
Republican lawmakers are downplaying the protests.
“I think of it like Carolina playing at Duke,” said Rep. John Blust, a Greensboro Republican. “I’m not going to let the Cameron Crazies throw me off my game.”
Joanne Harrell, a retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor who was arrested, is not deterred.
“I may not make a difference immediately,” she said. “But we’ll get people to start speaking up.”
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