Protesters made to remove support equipment, posters from Capitol grounds

Community Unrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Protesters at the Capitol had to dismantle their supplies and signage from state grounds early Wednesday morning.

State troopers made protesters pack up their support equipment, including tents, canopies and generators, in addition to posters they had placed on fences and barricades.

Lieutenant Bill Miller with the THP said crews with Metro Public Works need the area cleared so they can clean Legislative Plaza.

“THP were acting on the request of general services to have the items, the taped items
the sleeping bags, the chairs, anything that’s going to be in the way of cleaning, they are going to come through today and clean the area,” explained Lt. Miller.

Crews began pressure washing and cleaning the Plaza late Wednesday morning before contractors can come in to remove the sidewalk chalk.

Aside from the chalk, there’s been no damage to state property downtown since the weekend, according to a spokesperson with the Department of General Services. The cost of the chalk removal has yet to be determined.

Twenty-one people were detained late Monday night when after troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol cleared the Capitol grounds of protesters.

The protesters refused to leave and instead, sat down and locked their arms and legs together in an effort to remain on the grounds, according to the THP.

Demonstrators have been at the Capitol since Friday and do not intend on leaving.

Organizers are demanding to speak with Governor Bill Lee and for the removal of the bust of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Gov. Lee warned protesters not to camp on Capitol grounds, saying it is a violation of state law, which he intends to enforce.

Three protesters were arrested by state troopers Tuesday night after lawmakers failed to pass a resolution honoring the life of 17-year-old Ashanti Posey.

Posey was a student at Hillsboro High School when she was shot to death in her car last April.  

Representative Harold Love introduced a resolution to honor her life. However, one House member said he couldn’t support the measure.

“I did some research and looked up exactly what led to this young lady’s untimely demise and due to the behavior and I will say choices that she was involved in at the time,” Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland) said. “I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of this.”

This sparked outrage from the balcony, as protesters became vocal and started booing.

The THP said 24-year-old Justin Jones, 22-year-old Abigail Barrentine, and 31-year-old Alexander Ratliff were charged with disrupting a meeting and resisting arrest.

(EDIT: A previous version of this article referred to the protesters’ use of sidewalk chalk as graffiti. Though sidewalk chalk can loosely be defined as graffiti, as a means of defacing property, the use of only chalk was not specified in the article. The post has now been updated with the more specific ‘sidewalk chalk’ in place of graffiti as there was no use of spray paint or any other permanent painting instruments of any kind.)

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

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