City Hall Protest

Meridian, Miss. From around 8 until 10 Tuesday morning about 30 protesters rotated shifts and picketed outside Meridian City Hall.

Organizers say the final thing that sparked the protest was the heated exchange between the city council president and some citizens at the board's last meeting. It resulted from the council striking down the mayor's veto of the council's vote to keep the city's current insurance provider.

"They voted against it," says Johnnie Delk. "They don't have no respect for the mayor, and I feel like my voice is not being heard!"

That's why Johnny Delk, who was one of the citizens involved in the heated exchange at the meeting, says she organized the protest. Aside from respecting the new mayor's positions and authority, she and other protesters are calling for the council to reinstate a time period for citizens' comments during regular meetings.

"I want to be able to speak and voice my opinion," says Delk.

On May 7th of this year the citizens' comments time period was removed from the agenda ordinance for the city council.

"The council has had some discussions in recent work sessions about reinstating citizens' comments, and if we do it, how it will be conducted," says Meridian City Council President George Thomas.

Within the next month Councilman Thomas says the board could decide whether or not to reinstate a time for citizens' comments during regular meetings. However, he and other members of the council agree that if this does happen, it will come with some strict guidelines.

"If we do, it will be with restrictions as to the amount of time that issues can be discussed. It will also consider limiting one person per topic if they want to speak to the city council because this is a business meeting with the city council; that's why we're here and that's our purpose," says Thomas.