Thursday, June 1, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

54 Arrested in Statehouse Protest in North Carolina

(CN) - Fifty-four protesters were arrested outside the North Carolina statehouse on Monday, in yet another sign of unrest over the state's controversial "bathroom" law.

And ideological clashes continued inside the statehouse on Tuesday as Democrats took issue with Republican pleas to "keep our state straight."

The protest outside the statehouse by opponents of the law was timed for the start of the new legislative session.

The law they want to see rescinded requires transgender people to use public bathrooms corresponding to their presumed sex at birth,

It also stripped gays and lesbians of anti-discrimination protections in local municipalities across the state.

The protest drew about 1,000 people, and was matched by a counter demonstration by supporters of the bill that was at least as large.

Despite the disruptions on the legislature's first formal day of business, the state's top GOP leaders insist they have no plan to repeal the law.

Chanting and several sit-ins stages at various legislative offices went on into the night on Monday.

Acting General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said all would be charged with second-degree trespassing, and would be cited for violating building rules or the fire code.

One protestors was also charged with resisting arrest.

The arguments over the law resumed on Tuesday, after Democrats in the legislature complained about statements made on Monday by GOP state Sen. Buck Newton.

Addressing a crowd of supporters of the bill, Newtown said "tell your friends and family who had to work today what this is all about and how hard we must fight to keep our state straight."

In a written statement, the North Carolina Democratic Party said Newton's statements were hateful and clearly discriminatory toward the LGBT community.

They called on Newton to apologize he didn't and also for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to denounce Newton and his rhetoric. The governor also has not acceded to the Democrats' request.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.