RALEIGH, North Carolina — More demonstrators at the North Carolina Legislative Building were arrested Wednesday after advocating equal protections for gays, immigrants and the uninsured in the wake of last week's Supreme Court rulings.
General Assembly police placed six demonstrators in plastic handcuffs following a rally in the rotunda between the House and Senate chambers. The six refused to leave with the larger crowd after police told them they would be subject to arrest once the building closed at 5 p.m.
The chief of the General Assembly Police did not immediately return a call requesting details about charges for the six protesters. State NAACP president the Rev. William Barber attended the rally, but was not among those arrested.
Affiliated with the North Carolina NAACP and the "Moral Mondays" movement, the protesters called on the General Assembly to expand Medicaid, pass anti-discrimination laws for gay and transgender people and offer in-state tuition to immigrant students not in the United States legally.
Earlier Wednesday, Barber and House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, held a news conference demanding the state's Republican leaders accept federal funding to expand Medicaid, or come up with their own plan to close the coverage gap.
"We're going on a summer vacation for all intents and purposes and we have a major issue that has not been resolved," Hall said.
The House and Senate will not meet next week for the Fourth of July holiday. Gov. Pat McCrory signed a continuing resolution Tuesday extending budget negotiations until August 14.
Last week the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in all 50 states and upheld a key component of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC praised the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision at the rally and criticized the General Assembly for passing a law allowing some court officials in North Carolina to refuse to perform marriage duties if they have sincerely held religious objections to gay marriage.
The bill was introduced when several magistrates resigned shortly after same-sex marriages were authorized last October.
"We are still under attack at this legislature and that victory does not stop that," Sgro said.
Immediately following the protest, the North Carolina Republican Party issued a statement criticizing Barber for taking thousands of dollars in union donations while organizing the Moral Monday protests.