Moral Monday Sit-In Equates People's Health with Eco Health

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Common Dreams

Moral Monday Sit-In Equates People's Health with Eco Health

'Yes to Medicaid!... No to Fracking!': A refusal to expand healthcare while paving the way for gas drilling is two sides of the same 'regressive' coin, say demonstrators

Rakhee Devasthali, of Carrboro has her handcuffs removed by State Capitol Police Officer R. McCoy, left, as she is cited for trespassing and released on her own recognizance after partaking in a sit-in at the Capitol Building rotunda. Capitol Police moved everyone out of the building at closing time and 11 protesters remained inside with the doors locked. (Photo: News & Observer Chuck Liddy)

Rakhee Devasthali, of Carrboro has her handcuffs removed by State Capitol Police Officer R. McCoy, left, as she is cited for trespassing and released on her own recognizance after partaking in a sit-in at the Capitol Building rotunda. Capitol Police moved everyone out of the building at closing time and 11 protesters remained inside with the doors locked. (Photo: News & Observer Chuck Liddy)

'Moral Monday' demonstrators took their fight back to the state capitol building again this week and eleven people were detained and cited for refusing to leave as they attempted to lobby Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to help end the legislature's frontal assault on the health of the state's people and its environment.

The demonstrators gathered in the building in hopes to deliver letters to McCrory, but because the usual legislative session was not held, police closed the building early and demanded that the crowd disperse. The focus of the protest was the governor's continued refusal to expand the state Medicaid program as well as recent environmental policies, including a vote to open the state to fracking while ignoring the growing problem of coal ash dumping.

As these protesters exhibit:

“We recognize that reversing these actions will not solve every problem that our state faces,” one of the NAACP letters for McCrory stated. “We ask that you reverse course because your actions have made challenging situations even more painful for so many. We call on you today to reverse course by repenting, repealing and restoring our state to higher ground by eliminating the laws and policies pushed by this N.C. Legislature, led by Speaker Tillis and Senate Leader Berger and signed by you.”

Watch as officials try to clear the capitol rotunda:

"Our General Assembly continues to pass bad policy after bad policy without regard to the people whose health they are damaging," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and spokesperson for the Forward Together Moral Movement. "This week, Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, Gov. Pat McCrory and their extremist colleagues put corporate interests ahead of real people when they rammed through an end to the moratorium on fracking in our state. They put corporate interests ahead of real people when they proposed a budget that takes vital Medicaid support from the elderly and the disabled. We are going back today and we will be back every Monday of this short session until this General Assembly listens to the People's call to repent, repeal and restore confidence in our government."

After police cleared most of the building, eleven demonstrators refused to leave. After several hours, though not arrested, they were cited with 2nd degree trespassing, a misdemeanor, and escorted from the building in handcuffs before being released outside.

The #MoralMonday hashtag continues to chronicle the protest movement:

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