RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Hundreds of people against and for House Bill 2 descended on downtown Raleigh to make their voices heard as the General Assembly began a new session Monday.
On Monday evening — starting around 7 p.m. — protests against House Bill 2 started ending in arrests. By the time the evening was over, there were 54 total arrests. Twenty-nine of those arrests were people from the Triangle and 17 were from outside of the Triangle, but still from North Carolina. Five were from out of state.
All 54 of those arrested were charged with second-degree trespass. In addition, 35 of the 54 were charged with violating legislative rules.
Eighteen people were charged with violating a fire code. One person, an individual from Chicago, was charged with resisting arrest.
General Assembly police officers led away demonstrators in plastic handcuffs out of House Speaker Tim Moore’s outer office by early Monday evening. The House and Senate scheduled their first meeting Monday night of this year’s session.
About a dozen protesters waited outside Moore’s office.
Hundreds of people have been arrested at the Legislative Building over the past three years in protest against Republican policies. The state NAACP has led the movement. People supporting and opposing the law held rallies Monday.
Those who oppose the law arrived Monday morning to deliver a signed petition with 181,000 signatures to the governor’s office to repeal the law.
TurnOUT!NC was joined by Rev. William Barber and the North Carolina NAACP at a press conference Monday morning in downtown Raleigh.
“This bill is an anti-living wage bill,” said N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber. “It’s an anti-worker bill. It’s an anti-family bill. It’s an anti-civil rights protection bill. It’s an anti-gay bill.”
Police said there were around 1,200 anti-HB2 demonstrators at the height of the protest.
Supporters of the law are also gathering to show their support of the law and state lawmakers who are for it.
House Speaker Tim Moore spoke briefly to the crowd and reassured he would do everything in his power to make sure HB2 isn’t repealed.
Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, took to the podium to thank Gov. Pat McCrory for signing the bill.
“You did the right thing in signing this bill. Hold firm and protect women and children. We’re not afraid of transgender people. We’re afraid of the sexual predators that will prey on the weak and the defenseless,” Nance said.
A group of Democrats from the General Assembly officially filed a bill Monday to repeal to HB2. A news conference was held at 11 a.m. They said their sole intention for the short session is to repeal HB2.
“We must act immediately to repeal this harmful legislation right now, before the push back nationally does real and long-term harm to our state,” said Rep. Darren Jackson (D), House District 39.
House Bill 946 repeals HB2 and returns things back to status quo before HB2 was passed, allowing local communities to set their own standards.
“Many of the Republicans say they have no interest in repealing HB2, but we fully intend to change their minds,” Rep. Susi Hamilton (D), House District 18 said.