Thousands gather for "Moral March" - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Thousands gather for "Moral March"

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Thousands gathered in Raleigh Saturday for the "Moral March."  This year the march replaced the annual "Historic Thousands on Jones Street" - which has been held in February for the past eight years.  Leaders wanted to continue the theme they started last spring - bringing attention to the policy changes made by the Republican led General Assembly.

Church members from Little Rock AME Zion traveled to Raleigh.  They left early Saturday morning to join the march.

"We as a minority group," Church Member Jimmie Hackett said. "And others are taking a step backwards instead of making progress, and we want to protest against that type of movement."

Protestors are concerned about the actions of the General Assembly, ranging from a change in the voting laws to a cut to benefits.

"I think it is a shame," Church Member Bobby Clawson said. "That we are not extending unemployment security benefits for Medicaid - those things people need in the streets."

The crowd took up three blocks in Raleigh as they marched to the old State Capital.  The president of the NC NAACP, Dr. William Barber, told demonstrators 2014 should be a year of a renewed sense of urgency to challenge politcians.  Protestors believe this event was as important as ever.

"I'm a great grandmother," Church Member Beverly Koontz said.  "And what happens today will affect them in 15 to 20 years. Affect where they work - what schools they go to. Where they can live. What they can do and how high they can go."

Republican leaders labeled the rally "radical left-wing activism."  They believe the event is not helping the common good. 

Demonstrators hope the rally will get people motivated.  Police didn't release how many attended the Moral March, but the permit application called for 20,000 people.

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