Thousands join March for Justice through downtown Saturday

Community Unrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands raising their voices, calling to defund the police and for a complete overhaul of the policing system.

Protesters took to the streets of Nashville Saturday, walking miles in public view, chanting for change.

Protests have continued for two weeks now, and over a thousand people marched for justice on Saturday.

“It’s about George Floyd, police brutality, wanting to see changes in the police scene here in Nashville,” said activist Prophetess Venita Lewis, “It’s about housing, it’s about juvenile justice center, it’s about get your damn knee off my neck.”

They said they won’t stop these rallies until they see change.

“Ever since I was a child, I have been taught as a person of color whether it’s cops, whether it’s teachers, whether it’s principals, whether it’s anyone in authority, they are more likely to chastize you,” said protester Kirsten Mitchell, “You will suffer worse punishments than your peers that aren’t of color, so I’ve been taught to be on my best behavior.”

“We’re sick of it, we’re sick of it, same story over and over again, it’s time for a change,” said one protester.

Another protester, Jonathan Morse, said it’s time for everyone to step up.

“I’m one of those people who through his life has been at some level complacent, it’s not just, it’s not just nonblacks, it’s all of us. If we don’t step up and do something, we’re all complacent,” said Morse.

Lewis said lawmakers aren’t doing enough and are not listening.

“We have legislatures that are not hearing us, the world is changing and if you don’t change with us, we’ll keep walking, we’ll keep holding rallies, we’ll keep protesting,” said Lewis.

“I think we need to look at communities and try to prevent them from needing policing rather than try to correct things with violence within policing,” said one protester.

Morse believes that the course for change starts with understanding.

The group gathered at Legislative Plaza and marched down 2nd Avenue before stopping on Broadway, chanting, and kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The protesters marched back to Legislative Plaza where there was a brief rally and then a march around the Capitol. Protesters chanted for hours on Legislative Plaza after the march was over. So far, Saturday’s demonstrations remained peaceful.

A few protesters remain outside the Capitol after taking over Legislative Plaza on Friday night. Some stayed the night Friday into Saturday at the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ despite warnings from Governor Bill Lee that it would not be tolerated. So far, only one person has been arrested after refusing to move from the middle of Broadway after protesters had left the area.

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

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