Moral Monday Protests Return

The capitol city will be ringing with shouts, songs and sirens as Moral Monday protests return for the first full week of the legislative session at 5:00 p.m.

Groups in conjunction with the movement, such as the North Carolina NAACP, encourage North Carolinians to organize in defense of their civil rights and influence legislators to include a more liberal perception in state policy.

Protestors often congregate in thousands and gather inside the General Assembly to voice their opposition to the state’s Republican led government and their policies regarding issues such as women’s rights and abortion, tax legislation and public education.

Last year’s demonstration saw almost 1,000 arrests. Many of them have yet to be tried. Some citizens among those arrested include the community’s own “Orange County Five”, former mayor of Carrboro Mark Chilton, Carrboro Alderpersons Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade, and Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell who were arrested in June of 2013 in the movement’s “Mega Moral Monday.”

The North Carolina Legislative Services Commission met Thursday for the first time since 1999 and announced a change that limits where and how citizens can protest in the General Assembly. According to the commission’s new rules, Raleigh police are permitted to remove demonstrators creating an “imminent disturbance”, which includes “singing, clapping, shouting, playing instruments or using sound amplification equipment.”

New Semester And More Alcohol Violations

CHAPEL HILL – Local law enforcement says it wants you safe in public and out on the roads and recently stepped up its alcohol violation enforcement. Over the weekend there were a large number of underage drinking arrests with the start of the fall semester at UNC.

Public Information Sergeant for the Chapel Hill Police Department, Brian Walker, says police were looking for violations this weekend with the return of students.

“We do notice an increase in alcohol violations when the students return to town, so this past weekend we conducted an operation with our ALERT team, Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team” Walker said.

With many students returning to school, he says it isn’t abnormal for alcohol violations to spike and that throughout the year the number of alcohol violations and arrests can range.  Sgt. Walker says enforcement of alcohol laws is consistent, but that police keep an eye out to address increases in violations.

“We enforce alcohol laws pretty consistently throughout the year,” Walker said “we do see more violations of the ordinances and statutes at certain times of the year based on the students being in town, so we conduct some operations specifically to address that.”

While the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Police Departments may be enforcing the laws and making some arrests, Sgt. Walker says education is one of their goals.

He says letting people know what a violation is of alcohol laws, like having an open container even if over-age, is important for students to avoid confrontations with the police.  On the Chapel Hill Police Department’s website you can view the number of arrests and violations that occurred; Sgt. Walker breaks down the charges handed out starting Thursday.

“Cited 12 people for open containers, 25 for underage possession, and then they also had a public urination and a couple of other related charges” Walker stated.

For more information on the Chapel Hill Police Department click here.

To view a list of the people charged with alcohol violations, you can view the police blotter by clicking here.