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NC protesters to test new rules Tuesday

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RALEIGH, N.C. - The Moral Monday protests are expected to return in force next week, when organizers gather on Tuesday morning in front of the North Carolina General Assembly.

The North Carolina NAACP, in a news release on Friday, called on protesters to meet Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. at the Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly.

Protesters plan to enter the General Assembly in small groups and visit legislators.

The protesters originally planned to gather at 9 a.m. but shifted the time late Friday afternoon to better fit the General Assembly schedule.

The protests are expected to be a major test of new rules that limit protests at the Legislature, rules passed by Republicans at the start of the short session of the General Assembly.

The Moral Monday protest was held this past Monday with about 1,500 people. Then, protesters taped their mouths in protest of the new rules.

The Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP, called the new rules “crazy.”

In a news release, the NAACP said it wants the General Assembly to expand Medicaid, restore the Earned Income Tax Credit, extend unemployment benefits, increase support for teachers and public schools and strengthen environmental regulations.

"Last Monday, we entered the General Assembly with tape over our mouths to dramatize Speaker Thom Tills' and Senate Leader Phil Berger's tyrannical attempt to silence public petitions in the People's House," Barber said in a statement. "We said it then, and we will say it again, that was the last time we will be silent when our brothers and sisters are suffering under these extreme policies and laws.

More than 930 people were arrested during mass demonstrations at the North Carolina Capitol last year.

The protests began in April 2013, three months after Republicans took control of the governor’s office and both houses of the General Assembly.

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Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.