20 groups protest Ala. secretary of state’s retweets

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s secretary of state received backlash for retweets he made on his personal account.

People representing 20 organizations and individuals rallied at the Capitol Tuesday to speak out against what they call “divisive rhetoric.”

Secretary of State John Merrill retweeted a video with the caption that said “Black Lives Matter’s war on whites.” Another retweet said “When patriots decide it’s time to fight back, it’s going to be ugly.”

“His retweets are irresponsible. They reflect white supremacist ideology and white nationalism and they incite violence. That’s the main message,” said Camille Bennett with Project Say Something.

Merrill said he did not read the tweet ahead of time. Merrill said he just saw the short video, which he says shows a Trump supporter getting hit.

“My position was not to express a political point of view, it was to talk about how disappointing it is that people actually think this is a way to treat people today just by going up and knocking people in the head,” Merrill said.

Merrill says he did nothing wrong but took down the post 12 hours later.

“One of my friends contacted me and said it hurt him because he was trying to defend me, because he loves me,” he said. “I took the tweet down. It’s that simple. I mean, people that try to make more of this than it is, are foolish or ignorant, one or the other. That’s where we are today. "

One group, including Black Lives Matter Montgomery, called for Merrill to resign. Others wanted an apology.

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