Moral Monday Georgia protesters have no plans to abandon their use of civil disobedience, despite criticism from some lawmakers that it detracts from their message.
“We have risked our freedom because we believe everyday Georgians are worth fighting for,” said Spelman College sophomore Tabatha Holley, one of more than 30 in the group who have been arrested over the past three weeks protesting various issues at the Capitol.
Police arrested 10 Moral Monday protesters Jan. 27 over Gov. Nathan Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid in Georgia. Last week, 24 were arrested after they refused to leave a state senator’s office to protest his handling of a gun control bill. The target of that protest, Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, later called the event a “circus.” Several senators who share the same office hallway claimed their female staffers felt threatened by the event, in which officers arrested protesters peaceably.
Organizers of the group as well as several of those arrested said Monday that they had no intention of hurting anyone and practiced the ideals of nonviolent protest. More than 75 people joined the group’s demonstration in support of public schools Monday afternoon on the west steps of the Capitol.
Moral Monday Georgia has modeled its political protests after weekly demonstrations that rocked North Carolina last year and led to hundreds of arrests each week. Georgia organizers count support from a number of different groups, and they advocate progressive policies at sharp odds with the state’s conservative Republican leadership.