More than 50 opponents of North Carolina's new law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people were arrested at the Statehouse in Raleigh Monday night. It wrapped up a feverish day that brought several thousand impassioned demonstrators for and against the law to the capital city for the opening of the legislature's annual work session, the AP reports. Several hundred vocal critics of the legislation, approved in a special session last month, rallied outside the Legislative Building in the afternoon; then waves of several dozen people each went inside, parking themselves outside the offices of top legislative leaders for symbolic sit-ins.
A final wave entered House Speaker Tim Moore's outer office but refused to leave, leading to 18 arrests. Another 36 were arrested after they failed to leave the Legislative Building after it closed for the night. All 54 will be charged with second-degree trespassing and for either violating building rules or the fire code, police say. The arrests came hours after thousands of Christian conservatives and other supporters of the law gathered on a grassy mall behind the Legislative Building to praise the mostly Republican legislators and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory for passing the restrictions last month in a special session. House Democrats filed legislation Monday to repeal the law, though a lack of Republican sponsors made its chances appear slim. (A porn site blocked NC users to protest the law.)