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(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Protesters gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Friday as Gov. Pat McCrory signed at least one bill that would limit the power of his Democratic successor.

Earlier this month, McCrory, a Republican, conceded the state’s close governor’s race to Roy Cooper, the governor-elect, saying in a video message “the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support…Cooper.”

But at the North Carolina legislative building on Friday, the Republican-controlled legislature approved two bills that strip some executive powers from the governor’s office. The special session sparked protests and was criticized by the state’s Democrats who called it a “coup” according to ABC affiliate WTVD-TV.

McCrory signed Senate Bill 4 shortly after it was approved, which prevents the incoming governor from appointing a majority on the state elections board by expanding it to an eight-member panel.

“This legislation lays important groundwork to ensure a fair and ethical election process in North Carolina,” McCrory said in a statement Friday according to WTVD-TV.

As of Friday evening, McCrory had not signed House Bill 17, the more controversial bill, which transfers a lot of the executive branch’s power to the legislative branch as the Senate would have to approve all the governor’s appointees to state government. The governor would also be stripped of power in naming members to the boards of University of North Carolina System schools.

Multiple arrests were made throughout the day as demonstrators were ordered to leave for loudly protesting debates from House and Senate galleries, according to WTVD-TV.

Cooper responded to the legislative actions on Friday, saying on Twitter “the courts will have to clean up the mess the legislature made, but it won’t stop us from moving North Carolina forward.”

 

Once more, the courts will have to clean up the mess the legislature made, but it won’t stop us from moving North Carolina forward.

— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) December 16, 2016

 

 

What is happening now may look like partisan political games, but the result will hurt North Carolinians. pic.twitter.com/6028R91XJF

— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) December 16, 2016

 

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