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Hundreds shut down Franklin Street protesting House Bill 2

Crowds gather in the Peace and Justice plaza in protest of House Bill 2 that passed last week.
Crowds gather in the Peace and Justice plaza in protest of House Bill 2 that passed last week.

They held homemade signs that said “Just let me pee,” and “#Wearenotthis.”

Protestors gathered at the Peace and Justice Plaza outside of the Post Office before the protest began to organize and establish a plan of action.

“(I’m here) to continue to work the work we started last night by passing the resolution against House Bill 2,” Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said.

“They said last night we have to keep working at it.”

The Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution Monday requesting the bill be appealed.

“Just passing a resolution isn’t enough,” Parker said.

“We have to keep working in all possible ways.”

Once organized, the leaders of the protest began marching with the crowd to the intersection of Franklin Street and Columbia Street.

The leaders wore pink duct tape on their clothes to identify themselves.

Police cars blocked off the intersection. According to Sgt. Brandon Perry of the Chapel Hill Police Department, four or five police officers set a perimeter and blocked off traffic.

“If Chapel Hill don’t get it — shut it down,” protestors shouted in unison.

When they finished chanting, protesters circled up and individuals were given the opportunity to share their stories and frustrations.

“I don’t know if you can see it, but I am filled with rage and wrath and anger,” Olive Fadale, a first-year at UNC and a transgender woman, said.

Dolores Chandler, a prevention education coordinator at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, said the center is going to do its best to take care of the young people they work for.

“When you go to school tomorrow or the next day and you don’t know how you’re going to make it through the day, remember this moment,” Chandler said.

“Remember who organized it and remember we’re here for you and we’re waiting for you.”

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House Bill 2, signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, requires people to use the gender-specific public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex.

“I think a lot of hype and focus has been on the bathroom,” said Libba Moore, a teacher at Central Park School for Children.

The law also prohibits the filing of a discrimination lawsuit against an employer based on race, religion, nationality or biological sex.

Additionally, cities and counties in North Carolina are no longer allowed to set a minimum wage.

“The government is doing some really messed up shit and taking away basic human rights that everyone should have,” Flora Arnsberger, a student at Chapel Hill High School, said.

“Especially trans people.”

Six people sat in the center of the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets with their arms linked later on in the protest.

They were ready to be arrested for obstructing traffic, but ultimately no arrests were made. Protestors circled around those who were sitting and the protest continued.

“We’ve stepped way back in time and started discriminating against people,” Moore said.