Speaking on MSNBC Thursday, Rep. John Lewis said the situation in Ferguson, Missouri reminds him of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s in the United States. Lewis said President Obama needs to declare martial law to protect protestors and keep the situation from spiraling further out of control.
Here’s Lewis’ full answer to question from Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC about Ferguson:
It is very sad and unbelievable. It’s unreal to see what the police is doing there. First of all, Ferguson, Missouri is part of the United States of America. People have a right to protest. They have a right to dissent. They have a right to march in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion. And the press has a right to cover it. Ferguson, Missouri, it’s not the Congo. It is not China, It is not Russia. We can do better. It takes me back to the ’40s, the ’50s, the ’60s. To have a city that are majority African-American and only three African-American on the police force. Or to have local police officers refer to the protesters as animals. Or to have people dress in military garment and pointing rifles directly at the protesters. That is only going to incite people. So my own feeling is, right now, is that President Obama should use the authority of his office to declare martial law. Federalize the Missouri National Guard to protect people as they protest, and people should come together. Reasonable elected officials, community leaders and address what is happening there. If we fail to act, the fires of frustration and discontent will continue to burn, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but all across America.