Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden angrily denounced the heated rhetoric that's "been spewed" from some protesters in the days before
Sunday's deadly ambush on seven police officers.
In a call to MSNBC, Holden acknowledged tensions between members of the Baton Rouge community and law enforcement since black resident Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police
on July 5 — one of two incidents nationwide that led up to the July 8 ambush of five Dallas police officers.
The comments were posted by Mediaite.
"The rhetoric that has been spewed from some of the people who've spoken at the funeral, during the course of the whole week," he said, adding: "and people … who want to light a fire and pour gasoline on it" may be "related" to the ambush.
"Everything has been about a lot of anti-police," he said, but declared: "That's only a small percentage. The overwhelming number or residents… are not buying into that rhetoric."
Holden earlier called for an end to the rhetoric.
"The rhetoric now needs to be toned down to zero," Holden said, The Times-Picayune reports.
"This is not a Wild West town. This is a town of law and order."
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. C. Denise Marcelle called for prayers and a stop to the protests.
"We have to heal from this hurt," Marcelle tells a CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge.
"I’m calling upon everyone to pray today and to cease protests."
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