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Moral Monday Protest Draws Crowd Against North Carolina Voter ID, Leads To 73 More Arrests

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Another 73 people were arrested Monday at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, during the 12th consecutive weekly "Moral Monday" protest against state GOP agenda items. The latest display of civil disobedience brings to the total number of arrests to 925, the Associated Press reported.

Demonstrators gathered this week in opposition to a voter ID proposal and other voting changes currently being considered by Republicans, who now control both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship. The voter ID bill, introduced last week, would require all voters to present specific, state-approved forms of ID at the polls. The bill eliminates college IDs from a list of acceptable documents earlier approved in the state House.

The protests have been coordinated by the North Carolina NAACP and other activist groups around the state. NAACP President Rev. William Barber, who has been a regular feature at the rallies, was in attendance again on Monday, where he addressed the GOP agenda.

“This is a budget full of voodoo economics that hurt teachers and public education,” Barber said, according to the Raleigh News and Observer, speaking about a recently negotiated spending plan.

He also suggested that lawmakers had deliberately shifted their schedule hours earlier in order to avoid the evening protest.

"You can run, but you can't hide," Barber said. "When we come here and they are here, they want to drag us out. Then when they knew the national TV was on them, they tucked their tails and ran."

Liberal-leaning activists have had plenty to protest over the past three months. Last week, 101 demonstrators, most of them women, were arrested at the General Assembly building in a display against GOP efforts to restrict abortion rights. Republicans recently pushed through a controversial bill to ban sex-selective abortions and impose new regulations on abortion clinics. McCrory has suggested he'll sign it despite a campaign promise to oppose new abortion restrictions.

Thousands have turned out for previous rallies, which have also focused on controversial cuts to unemployment insurance, fracking and the rejection of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, among other issues.

While recent polling showed that the "Moral Monday" demonstrators are more popular than the GOP-controlled legislature, Republicans have largely attempted to ignore them. Others have dismissed them altogether, calling them "Moron Mondays" or suggesting that organizers were busing in activists from out of the state to stack the protests. A survey taken last month found that attendees were overwhelmingly from North Carolina.

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