Tens of thousands marched on the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh on Saturday, rekindling the "Moral Monday" progressive protest movement with its largest turnout yet.
For much of last year, the broad coalition of civil-rights groups, unions, and fed-up North Carolinians gathered each week to protest policies enacted by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and North Carolina’s GOP legislature.
Since taking over a majority in the legislature in 2010, and the governor’s mansion in 2012, Republicans eliminated Medicaid coverage for 500,000, enacted a voting law that requires voter ID and cuts early voting, repealed an earned-income tax credit for 900,000, shifted $90 million away from public schools to voucher schools, amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage, and passed a measure requiring women to "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child" before an abortion.
Gov. McCrory has been dismissive of the Moral Mondays protesters, saying that they do not “represent the majority of those who call themselves moral.” But by mid-summer of last year, more North Carolina residents approved of the Moral Monday protesters than of the state legislature, according to a PPP poll.
The N.C. NAACP estimated that between 80,000 and 100,00 convened in Raleigh for the rally. That makes it the largest civil rights gathering in the South since 1965, when activists marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in support of the Voting Rights Act, according to the Nation’s Ari Berman, who reported from the protest.