Meridian, Miss. At his news conference Wednesday, Mayor Percy Bland discussed the issue of the protesters at the city council meeting.
Bland says the protesters had communicated their intentions of protesting to chief administrative officer, Curt Goldacker, prior to showing up, but it was still a surprise to see them all outside when he arrived.
The mayor says it might be time to revisit the issue of letting citizens speak at council meetings again. He says as long as they're not abusing their rights, he is happy to hear any concerns.
"If a person wants to come out and voice their opinion on any issue, we're in leadership, and we've got to hear a lot of things that people have to say," said Bland. "Even if they don't agree with me as the mayor or they don't agree with city council folks. They're citizens, and they have rights to vote and rights to be heard."
Earlier this year, the city council removed the citizens' comments from its agenda ordinance. Council president, Dr. George Thomas, said this week that the council has discussed reinstating it and what rules would be in place for it.
The mayor agreed there should be certain restrictions in place if the council does move forward in allowing citizens to speak at meetings, such as a time limit.
Bland says if you do have concerns, you may reach out through email or calling.