'Moral Monday' protesters gather uptown

'Moral Monday' protesters gather uptown

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 5:28 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 6:00 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Demonstrators gathered at uptown’s Marshall Park at 5 p.m. Monday for Charlotte’s “Moral Monday” protest, part of a statewide series of events opposing recent action by the Republican-led legislature.

The movement, which has won national attention in recent months, began in Raleigh amid a flurry of legislation that protesters see as assaults on the low-income, voting and abortion rights and public education.

“I am very upset about the path our legislature has taken...we have stepped back many years. It’s a beautiful thing to see, people coming together, old and young, black and white.  A lot of teachers, gay people, straight people, everybody from North Carolina who wants rights that are equal,” said demonstrator Natasha Marcus.

Since the legislators adjourned in July, organizers vowed to “Moral Monday” on the road around the state – first to Asheville earlier this month that drew a reported 5,000 demonstrators.

George Sawyer, a 79-year-old retired financial consultant, was arrested during one of the Raleigh protests earlier this year and was at Marshall Park Monday.  “I think the common good has just been done away with.  I just feel an obligation to make myself heard and felt,” he said.

Another demonstrator, Janet Lang, said, “I'm very concerned about North Carolina right now.  It’s not going in the direction that it should be.  I’m concerned about my fellow comrades.  It doesn't matter what ethnic background you're from, its effecting our people as a whole.”

An official crowd count from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police was not immediately available. But estimates appeared to show about 2,000 people in the park and surrounding areas.

The Charlotte Observer contributed to this story.

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