(Washington) An elected Democrat from Tennessee, who had demonstrated a week ago for better supervision of firearms after a massacre in a school, was expelled Thursday from the House of Representatives of this American state, with a Republican majority.
Elected officials voted 72 votes for, and 25 against, the exclusion of Justin Jones, who had joined hundreds of protesters on March 30 demanding stricter gun regulations a few days after a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville , the capital of this southern state, in which six people lost their lives, including three children.
The protesters had entered the Capitol of Tennessee to challenge the local elected officials gathered in session. “What do we want? Gun regulations! When do we want it? NOW ! “, they had chanted in the corridors.
Mr. Jones had used a megaphone to urge protesters to shout slogans like “People Power”, according to several US media outlets.
“An elected official who has expressed opposition can be expelled, this is unheard of in Tennessee. This has never happened in our history, ”reacted the elected official on American television.
“What the country sees is that we don’t have a democracy in Tennessee,” he continued. “I will continue to hold them accountable for their actions […] This is not just about me, but also about trying to silence and exclude the movement that we are trying to carry. »
Another elected Democrat, Gloria Johnson, also threatened with exclusion for the same reasons, managed to keep her seat, while the parliamentarians were to decide in the evening on the sidelining of a third elected Democrat, Justin Pearson, also accused of having participated in the demonstration.
“Three children and three officials shot dead in yet another mass shooting. And what are the elected officials of the Republican Party focusing on? Punish elected officials who joined thousands of peaceful protesters calling for action,” U.S. President Joe Biden blasted on Twitter.
“It is shocking, undemocratic and unprecedented,” he added.
On March 28, 28-year-old Audrey Hale broke into a Christian elementary school, the Covenant School, with two assault rifles and a pistol, causing death before police shot her dead.
The tragedy, whose motive remains unknown, has aroused great excitement and revived the debate on the circulation of firearms in the United States, where they represent the first cause of death for minors.