PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) _ Maybe, being a Sunday, it only was fitting that the third day of protests at Petal City Hall had a little more sitting-in-the pew feel.
Three songs led off another three-hour session before being followed by singular testimony and personal sermon.
And like that unexpected meal of long-ago, the crowd was fed, but instead of loaves and fishes, 40 Domino’s pizzas were divided among the adherents who continued to demand the resignation of Mayor Hal Marx.
“Somebody is hurting our people and we won't be silent anymore,” once again drew call-and-echo response.
Another crowd between 100 and 150 people, similar in size to those drawn Friday and Saturday, took up positions in front of the building and along West Eighth Street to condemn comments made on social media by Marx in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minn.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday in police custody after being detained by police for allegedly passing a counterfeit bill.
A video quickly went viral showing Floyd surrounded by four officers, prone and arms handcuffed behind him, while a white Minneapolis police officer kept his knee pressed into his neck for more than eight minutes.
Violent protests erupted in Minneapolis Tuesday night, and have spread to other cities across the country.
While Floyd was added to the list of past deaths that have especially enraged the black community, the focus in Petal has been on ousting Marx.
That started in earnest Thursday, when the Petal Board of Aldermen asked Marx to resign.
The mayor declined, saying that he had been voted into office by the people of Petal and the he intended to serve out his term, which ends at the end of June 2021.
Marx was first elected to a four-year term in 2009, and has been re-elected twice, the most recent in 2017. He had already announced that he did not intend to run for a four term.
Protestors said they will return Monday to Petal City Hall.
“We are in this for the long haul,” said one protestor.
People have noticed. A former Petal resident, now living in Washington state, had been keeping abreast Sunday over the Internet and had pizza delivered to the crowd.