Seeking to build off a string of highly successful "Moral Monday" demonstrations at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., members of the state's NAACP gathered on the premises again for what they're calling the first "Witness Wednesday."
WNCN reported that the event, led by Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, drew about 75 people. They continued their ongoing protest against a GOP agenda being pushed in the state legislature and by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), the first Republican governor in North Carolina in 20 years.
The rally, which comes on the 50th anniversary of the murder of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, also carried a resurgent focus on civil rights. WTVD reported that Barber also held a news conference on Wednesday to announce an NAACP voter registration campaign that is set to begin Wednesday and end Aug. 28. That date marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.
It's unclear if the NAACP intends to make "Witness Wednesdays" a serial feature at the General Assembly grounds. Their "Moral Monday" demonstrations have gained rapid and rather widespread popularity. Earlier this week, thousands of attendees flocked to the grounds, chanting opposition to Republican moves on issues such as voter ID legislation, hydraulic fracking, cuts to education spending and the rejection of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Around 84 people -- including a journalist covering the event -- were arrested, bringing the arrest total over six weeks of protests to nearly 400.
Republicans have largely tried to downplay or ignore the effort. State Sen. Thom Goolsby (R) dubbed them "Moron Mondays," drawing backlash from his constituents. He dismissed their complaints this week, saying that he was just trying to be "humorous" with the insults. McCrory has meanwhile attempted to explain the growing crowds as a function of outside influence. According to a report by WRAL, however, 98 percent of those arrested have been North Carolina residents.