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Protesters rally at state Capitol

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Protesters Anne Wilson (left) and Amy Stanley, both of Winston-Salem, participate in the Moral Monday Service of Redemption outside of the State Capitol on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 in Raleigh, N.C. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Protesters returned to the state Capitol Monday to ask lawmakers to restore unemployment benefits, which were reduced this year, and to expand Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of additional people.

The N.C. NAACP and allied groups held another Moral Monday protest outside the legislative building, continuing to protest the agenda of Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led legislature.

Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, led the crowd that swelled to nearly 1,000 despite persistent rain to call on the administration to abandon the agenda he called unfair, unjust, unkind and immoral.

Barber said bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature hurt the poor, sick and unemployed.

“When people are sick, we do not throw them under the bus,” Barber said.

People from across the state reconvened for a continuation of the protests that were a regular occurrence during the legislative session. When the session closed, activists moved to counties throughout the state.

Amy Stanley, a retired nurse from Winston-Salem, said she attended as many as she could – traveling from Asheville to Raleigh.

“I don’t think people understand what their legislature is doing to them,” Stanley said. “That the legislature has done is incomprehensible.”

Monday’s protest began with a rally on the mall behind the Legislative Building. After an hour-long rally featuring the songs, chants and fiery speeches Moral Monday has become known for, the crowd marched two-by-two to the grounds of the state Capitol.

Initially the group was denied a permit to protest at the site. They took their request to Wake County Superior Court, where it was granted.

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