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New Orleans places demand for protection from the Louisiana State Police on mayor’s doors

By staff |
July 14, 2022
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Protesters gather in front of the mayor's house.
Protesters gather in front of the mayor's house. (Fight Back! News/J Martel)

New Orleans, LA - Demonstrators marched to the mayor of New Orleans’ house on July 8 and taped two copies of a letter to her porch columns. Police then enraged protesters by crumpling the demands up in a show of disrespect. The protest occurred on the evening after Orleans Civil District Court judge Ethel Simms Julien ended the temporary restraining order on the state’s anti-abortion trigger ban.

Under the banner of “Defend the Right to Abortion” about 40 people rallied for their demand that Mayor Latoya Cantrell use her authority to remove Louisiana State Police from the city. The state police have made it clear they will enforce the state’s abortion ban once it is in effect, while the local district attorney, police department, sheriff and city council have all made statements that they will not support enforcement. 

The demonstration aims to protect those in the New Orleans Area left vulnerable after the unelected Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade’s 1973 precedent preventing state laws banning abortion within the first and second trimesters. 

At the start of the rally, under the watch of an outnumbered detachment of motorcycle police, the crowd booed Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. That morning, Landry defended Louisiana’s trigger ban in court, and he successfully pushed to halt the temporary restraining order on the law. The crowd chanted “racist, sexist, anti-gay, Jeff Landry go away!” Cheers went out when Serena Sojic-Borne, speaking on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), said the authorities “have decided to try the case of the trigger law in East Baton Rouge” which “proves the anti-abortion forces are afraid of us” in New Orleans. 

Other speakers explained the need for action by the mayor. An activist speaking on behalf of New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police reminded the rally that “Even if the NOPD is told not to act against abortion by city officials, the Louisiana state police is outside of their purview. The city council, the sheriff, the other officials have no power over the state police. The only person in the city that can direct the state police is Mayor Cantrell, for this reason this coalition is out here demanding that mayor Cantrell get the state police out of New Orleans.” 

Those who rallied then marched to Mayor Cantrell’s house, reiterated their demands and then taped up two paper copies, just as had been done the week before. After the demands were posted, NOPD officers escorted the mayor’s husband to the door where they made a show of removing the papers and crumpling them up while he entered. This added new life to the demonstrators who chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, LSP has got to go” and were later quoted as finding the disrespect “disgusting.” 

A coalition called the action, and it included the Real Name Campaign, FRSO, New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police, Communist Party USA, DSA, Green Party, Southern Workers Assembly, and Party for Socialism and Liberation. The event was a follow-through with the coalition’s promise to return to the mayor’s house after marching on it the week before. The coalition has resolved to continue to place pressure on the mayor to oppose the effects of the abortion ban and of the racist police forces.