Broadway business owners plead for protests to go elsewhere, organizers say no

Nashville Protests

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — From boarding up to closing early and still having COVID-19 regulations, Broadway bar owners are pleading with protesters to march somewhere else.

Several downtown business owners tell News 2 that they are tired of business being interrupted and they are ready to get back to some sort of normalcy.

“We are down like 95 percent and all the businesses are, they are down about 95 percent,” proclaimed Layla Vartanian of Layla’s Honky Tonk.

Although the doors have been allowed to re-open, it’s been hard to keep them that way.

“I’m closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because business has been so bad and then now they want to have a protest on the weekend,” she explained.

For weeks, some businesses have shut down early for protestors while others have boarded up their doors.

“It’s really disrupting our businesses. That’s fine if people want to protest, but they need to keep it on Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill that’s where the politicians are. You want to voice your opinion to the politicians. Broadway has nothing to do with what they are rallying about we need to get our businesses back in order some kind of normalcy,” said Vartanian.

Her neighbors agree. One business owner told News 2 businesses downtown are “bleeding,” saying Broadway makes the most revenue for the state.

“We are not going to be able to pay our teachers, our fire department our public works. It’s costly to the whole city to bring a huge police force down here to protect everybody. Even the protestors need to be protected and it’s just costing business owners a lot of money, people don’t want to come down here because of all the disruption,” said Vartanian.

The protest are just the latest in a list of events that have hindered Music City.

“We had the tornado, then we had the windstorm, we had coronavirus, we’ve had all these rallies. I mean it’s not ending, it’s not ending.”

Protest organizers for Saturday’s march say it won’t end.

“If we could we would have the businesses closed down 7 days a week, but that’s not possible because some people do work. I understand that they work, but we are peaceful. Whoever was doing the looting we weren’t a part of that. We are peaceful. We are not wanting to use any profanity, we don’t want to provoke the police we want to give them respect ok. You are talking about you are tired of closing down your businesses, we are tired of getting in our cars and driving and getting pulled over just because you might have a busted taillight and we are being harassed just because of the color of our skin, so either you are a part of this, enough is enough, or you are going to have to hear and see us every weekend. Every weekend you are going to hear us and you are going to see us. Trust me, trust me. You are going to see us alright,” said Nita with the Black Lives Matter Nashville Chapter.

Saturday’s protest is scheduled to go down Broadway.


Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of community unrest across Middle Tennessee:

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