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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Protesters hold competing rallies over North Carolina's LGBT laws

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:56

Demonstrators in Raleigh, North Carolina (AP)
Demonstrators in Raleigh, North Carolina (AP)
Nick Jonas is among the latest performers to cancel shows in North Carolina

Supporters and opponents of a new North Carolina transgender law have been holding competing rallies on the first day of the state's legislative session.

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A single supporter of the law got into a shouting match with several people at a rally against the law on the grounds of the state's 19th century Capitol building.

The middle-aged white man in sunglasses and a blue shirt shouted that the law's opponents are sick and cannot tell a man from a woman. Several people confronted him, but the altercation never appeared to become physical. Officers escorted him away without arresting him.

The law blocks local and state protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and directs which toilets transgender people can use.

Authorities said 36 people were arrested on Monday evening outside House Speaker Tim Moore's closed office.

That brings to 54 the number of opponents of the law who were led away in plastic handcuffs or carried away on the General Assembly's opening day of its annual work session.

Acting General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock says all of those arrested would be charged with second-degree trespassing. He also says they will be cited for violating building rules or the fire code. He said one also faces a charge of resisting arrest.

Meanwhile, singers Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato are the latest artists to cancel shows in North Carolina.

Jonas and Lovato issued a statement on Twitter saying they are cancelling the shows in Raleigh and Charlotte this summer because the goal of their concerts are to allow every person to feel equal, included and accepted.

The statement says the North Carolina law that limits government protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens is hateful.

Bruce Springsteen, Mumford and Sons, Pearl Jam, Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil have all cancelled performances in North Carolina since the law was passed last month.

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