Alexandria, La. (June 3, 2020) — As central Louisiana residents choose to gather to exercise their right to free speech to advocate for social justice in light of recent incidents, the City of Alexandria, the City of Pineville and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office jointly support peaceful demonstrations while encouraging citizens to take precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19.
“The recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as well as the deaths of other African Americans in encounters with police are tragedies that should never have happened,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “Like most Americans, black and white, I expect those responsible to be brought to justice. As a nation we should all join together in making our voices heard to make it clear we will not tolerate abuse of power. At the same time, we are going to ensure that voices are heard in the right way.”
Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood added, “We respect the community’s desire to advocate for social justice and fully support people’s right to peacefully assemble and have their voices heard. We encourage citizens planning to participate in any future gatherings to follow the examples that have been set, peacefully gathering to voice their concerns while remaining respectful of the rights of all citizens.”
Alexandria has had two peaceful demonstrations downtown since Sunday, and other demonstrations are planned.
“As we exercise our right to peacefully assemble and advocate for change, we must remember to do so in a way that builds up and not tears down,” said Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields. “We must stand together against racism. We must stand together for inclusion. And we must stand together for the mutual respect, compassion and love we ALL deserve – both now and for our future!”
Health officials remind all citizens to continue to take proper coronavirus precautions when they are in public or in group settings. This includes wearing face masks, covering a cough or sneeze and maintaining six feet of distance from others.