MILTON — Close to 200 residents and business owners gathered Tuesday on the lawn of the City Hall to voice their disapproval and concern with the City Council over several actions and decisions made in recent months.
Among the demonstrators were the elderly and couples and young children. They held signs reading “ABOSOLUTEY NO POTTY MOUTHS” and “WE ARE WATCHING AND WE VOTE." On the walls and hung on the lawn were banners reading “pray for our city” and “former mayors and City Council members support us.”
Demonstrators chatted peacefully with council members and police officers. They had peanut-shaped fans and ate peanuts, a reference to demonstration organizer Pam Mitchell asking Mayor Wesley Meiss to apologize for referring to some audience members as the "peanut gallery" during an April 10 meeting in which council voted to fire City Manager Brian Watkins.
“We wanted to give people a voice who are afraid of being slandered,” Mitchell said. “We feel like there is strength in numbers.”
Mitchell said her hope is that the people who attended the demonstration will start attending council meetings regularly to let their voices be heard rather than remain silent.
Henry Martin said he attended the demonstration because he was concerned over the council's direction.
“The council has gone their own way, not the way of the people,” he said.
Councilwoman Pat Lunsford supported the demonstrators.
“I want to thank the people who think the way I think and feel,” she said.
The day after the protest, Mayor Wesley Meiss posted on his facebook page — Mayor Wesley Meiss of Milton, Florida — a picture of himself holding two signs from the protest. He wrote in the post “Take back our Town? Absolutely right, after the past 25 years, we did. I'll add these to my Milton political graveyard collection.”
By 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, visitors to the post left 141 reactions of likes, hearts and laughing faces and shared it 46 times. Of the 32 comments, about half supported the mayor and half did not.
"So excited for the future of Milton! Thank you!" Jenn Hodgson wrote.
"Posts like this will certainly mobilize his opponents come election time," Steve Burns commented.