ATLANTA — Police arrested 39 people, including Statesboro lawyer the Rev. Francys Johnson, the president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, at Georgia's Capitol during protests over Republican refusals to allow more people to join a government-funded health care system.
The protests were organized by the Moral Monday coalition, which is pressuring Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to ease eligibility rules and allow more low-income people into the Medicaid system, The Associated Press reported.
Those arrested chanted in support of a Medicaid expansion from Senate gallery, rallied outside the Senate doors and staged a sit-in inside Deal's office. They were charged with illegally disrupting the General Assembly. First offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors.
The arrested protesters also included the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of a church formerly led by civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Progressive News reported that Johnson was among those arrested. The AJC reported the number of people arrested as 41.
The governor and Republican lawmakers say expanding Medicaid would be too expensive over the long run.