Protestors are rallying for change, but the timing is what makes it more controversial.
For Mayor Jamie Mayo it was supposed to be a birthday celebration but a group of members from the community had other plans.
“This is the first time that I’ve known that there is a protest of my birthday,” Mayo said.
“My reason for being here is I believe Monroe should be in a better situation than it is,” former city official, Leonard Tims, said.
During the protest, he carried a sign that highlighted a recent study on Monroe’s crime rates.
“I picked that sign because I see crime increasing in Monroe I see some of the things that are happening,” Tims said.
Things cranked up a notch when some controversial words got out about the Mayor
“They have made some racist comments calling me an animal,” Mayo said.
“If I said he’s an animal he’s an animal,” protest organizer, Eddie Hakim said.
Hakim says one of the big reasons he made the statement was because of Mayo awarding the key to the city to Minister Louis Farrakhan, who has made controversial comments about white people in the past.
“Anybody who wishes white people should die is an animal he’s worst than an animal,” Hakim said.
Even though Mayo has never made these statements, protestors believe he endorsed those feelings by giving Farrakhan a key to the city.
Hakim stood behind his opinion of Mayo and took it a step further.
“For animals I’m sorry I insulted them by calling him an animal he’s below that,” Hakim said.
Both men have a history with the mayor Dr. Ray Armstrong ran for mayor against Jamie Mayo and lost twice, but he insists that this mission isn’t personal.
There are other things that can be done to make Monroe a better place,” Armstrong said.
He talks about about
We need to find ways to bring blacks and whites together and there are many of them who want to do that.”
Hakim says he blames Mayo for the city’s decline in population.
“We’ve lost 10 percent of our population since he’s been Mayor in the first 10 years,” Hakim said.
“We need to give them good well paying jobs and we don’t have them here,” Armstrong said.
“[We get] excuses and not solutions,” Armstrong said.
However Mayo believes the protest is already personal and not helping progress.
“They put a negative spin on everything we do so there’s no help for that,” Mayo said.
“There’s not cities that are exempt from controversy and Monroe is no exception.”
Meanwhile this protest may not show signs of a truce between the two parties anytime soon.
“I think the best way to deal with the Mayor is to vote him out of office,” Armstrong said.
There has been no word of any planned protests that will follow. The next Mayoral race for the City of Monroe will take place in 2020.