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Greensboro News & Record: Dismiss all Moral Monday prosecutions

Moral MondaysICYMI, an editorial in this morning’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record calls for the dismissal of charges against all Moral Monday protesters and a coherent rewrite of the the rules regulating protests in the state Legislative Building:

“This has been bungled from the start. Demonstrators who gathered in the second-floor lobby of the Legislative Building on Monday evenings last year never should have been arrested. They were expressing their disapproval of Republican policies but did not impede legislators from going about their business. If they had become overly disruptive, they could have been escorted out of the building. At no time did they attempt to occupy the facility beyond the hours when it’s normally open to the public.

Instead, over the course of the General Assembly session, 945 people were taken into custody and charged with trespassing, failing to disperse and violating building rules….

It’s time to call them off. The judge who’s handled most of the cases has found some of the building rules vague and others — such as prohibiting signs — unconstitutional. But she has found some defendants guilty of trespassing and violating some other rules in cases where Weaver could provide testimony about individual actions. One of those convicted was the Rev. William Barber II, president of the state chapter of the NAACP and the leader of the Moral Monday movement.

All convictions are being appealed, as they should be. It should not be trespassing to gather in a building where the people’s elected representatives debate and pass laws. Citizens have a right to assemble peaceably and make their views known as long as they don’t interfere with business. The demonstrators never entered the legislative chambers or barred entry to others. Their presence probably annoyed legislative leaders, but boisterous dissent goes with democracy. Higher courts should agree and overturn all convictions.”

Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

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