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Louisiana lawmakers asking for peaceful protest



LOUISIANA – Law enforcement is braced for potentially large protests at the Louisiana State Capitol this weekend, and Republican lawmakers in Southeast Louisiana are asking constituents to stay peaceful.

The FBI has warned of “armed protests” at all 50 state capitols this weekend.

Louisiana officials said they’re creating a multi-agency command center, although there are no specific, substantiated threats to Baton Rouge.

“I haven’t heard anything formal. Certainly I’ve heard what the news has been reporting, But as far as any organized protests, I’m not privy to any of those at all,” said State Representative Ray Garofalo, a Republican who represents District 103.

He is one of several who has condemned political violence.

State Senator Patrick McMath wrote in a statement to Eyewitness News Friday,

“While I will always support peaceful protests, as they are part of the foundation of our democracy, there is no place for violence in our political process. I encourage those attending any upcoming rallies to remain peaceful and treat law enforcement with the respect they deserve.”

Trump supporters have peacefully gathered at the Capitol many weekends in a row.

But with suspicion the rallies could escalate on Sunday, Louisiana State Police, the FBI, and ten other agencies released a joint letter Thursday afternoon.

The letter read in part,  “Criminal activity, the destruction of property, and the intentional incitement of violence prevents others from peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights and will not be tolerated.”

The resounding message from many is that if you’re going to the capitol, go with peace.

“If anyone wants to go out and utilize their first amendment free speech right, to let themselves be heard. Do it peacefully. Don’t do it with any types of illegal activities or destruction. It wouldn’t be fair to people who have worked so hard to build those businesses, and in this case, the capitol,” said Rep. Garofalo.