Medicaid Protest at GA State Capitol Brings Arrests

By Charles Craig

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and nine other Moral Monday Georgia supporters were arrested inside Gov. Nathan Deal’s office Monday after refusing repeated police orders to leave.

The demonstrators wanted Deal to accept their letter urging him to expand the state’s Medicaid program, as called for under the 2010 federal health reform law.Fort and the other protesters, who included members of the clergy, sat in the reception area of the governor’s office Monday afternoon while they waited for Deal, who never emerged. Outside, on the Capitol steps, about 50 people shouted their support for the protest group in Deal’s office.

Officers of the Georgia State Patrol and Capitol Police handcuffed the demonstrators after they refused requests to leave Deal’s office about 5 p.m. They were escorted individually out of the Capitol building for transport to an Atlanta jail.

The Moral Monday Georgia movement, a coalition of civil rights groups, churches, labor unions and health care groups, targets public policy issues that negatively affect poor and working-class people.

The incident Monday was the group’s second protest of the 2014 General Assembly session. At a rally two weeks ago, Fort pledged that the protesters would engage in nonviolent civil disobedience if Deal ignored their demands to expand Medicaid.

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