Eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Legislative Building on Wednesday, as part of a larger demonstration by the NAACP.
One of the arrested was Durham City Councilman Steve Schewel.
The eight were arrested as they and supporters loudly sang spirituals outside the chamber where the state House of Representatives was debating the budget. House Speaker Thom Tillis had the doors to the chamber locked for the duration of the protest.
The supporters filled the third-floor rotunda and looked down at the group on the second floor that chose to be taken into custody.
The arrests followed a rally outside the statehouse led by the NAACP’s Rev. William Barber, who led a crowd of about 100 into the building.
Barber said seven of those who volunteered for arrest symbolize the deaths of key figures in the civil rights movement, including Medgar Evers, the NAACP activist who was murdered 50 years ago Wednesday. The eighth person was guiding a man in a wheelchair who was arrested. Two of the eight protesters were confined to wheelchairs.
The NAACP dubbed the event “Witness Wednesday,” following several weeks of “Moral Mondays,” which have drawn thousands of protesters and resulted in more than 350 arrests.