After hours of back and forth negotiation with the General
Assembly police—after the Raleigh Police came to arrest
the protesters but then were held back for fear of creating bad press—
Thom Tillis quietly had the 14 fast food workers and faith leaders
staging a sit-in at his office arrested at 2 a,n,—long after
the media and remnants of Moral Monday protestors had gone home or had been asked to leave the building.
The sit-in demonstrators were doing non-violent civil disobedience
in hopes of seeing Thom Tillis, now a candidate for U.S. Senate, repeal measures that hurt the poor.
Tillis refused to meet with them and left the Legislative building through a back exit.
“Tonight, we put a face on the real harm these policies are inflicting across our state,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, “Our state lawmakers should adhere two fundamental principles: first, that legislators should be governing for the good of the whole, and second, as our state constitution lays out, that ‘beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate and the orphan is one of the first duties of a civilized and a Christian state.’ Speaker Tillis, Senate Leader Berger and Gov. McCrory have broken with both of these principles, particularly in their decisions to deny Medicaid expansion, to repeal the EITC, to cut back unemployment benefits and to pass a tax plan that benefits only the wealthiest few. They pass extreme policies, and then they will not even speak to the people their policies are hurting.”
One of the arrestees, Crystal Price, 27, works at a Wendy’s in Greensboro. She is a mother of two children living on minimum wage and the NAACP say she suffers from cervical cancer. Denying the Medicaid expansion and cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit have impacted her ability to make ends meet.
Another of the original sit-in demonstrators, Amber Matthews, a single mother, left the sit-in because she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to get her son to school on Wednesday morning.