Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Thursday that he believes President Barack Obama should declare “martial law” in Ferguson, Mo., where protests against police over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager have turned violent in recent days.
“My own feeling is, right now, is that President Obama should use the authority of his office to declare martial law,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “Federalize the Missouri National Guard to protect people as they protest.”
The Georgia congressman and civil rights icon drew a parallel to his own protest experience, arguing that he was spared harm during the Freedom Rides in 1961 because the city of Montgomery, Ala. had been placed under martial law.
“While we were there in that church, for being bombed or burned, and if it hadn’t been for the National Guard ordered there by President Kennedy and the U.S. Marshals, some of us would have died there that night,” he said.