Tensions flare at capitol day after House approves monuments bill

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Tensions are flaring at the Louisiana State Capitol the day after the House approved a bill aimed at protecting confederate monuments across the state.

The vote prompted the black caucus to walk off the floor in protest. A press conference was held Tuesday morning to address the issue.

"There comes a time to do what is right, what is Christian, and come to the plate and make those tough decisions. That's what we as legislators are here to do ," said Rep. Barbara Carpenter, D-Baker.

Emotions are still raw at the capitol with members of the black caucus calling yesterday's vote painful and insulting.

"It's a reminder of hatred, a reminder of slavery, a reminder of one of the most inhumane acts you can commit on any person," said Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.

The head of the black caucus Rep. Joseph Bouie said the bill was a covert instrument of white supremacy. He said those sorts of feelings are a problem in the state that needs to be addressed.

"This is not about patriotism. I support our veterans, I support people who fought for the United States, but what I don't support is white supremacy," said Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge.

The bill was passed by the House after hours of debate. The bill would take the power to remove monuments away from local governments. Instead, the public would have to vote on whether to tear them down.

Black caucus members said this was nothing more than a move to protect those memorials.

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