NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The moments following the expulsion of Rep. Justin Pearson (D—Memphis), who joined Rep. Justin Jones (D—Nashville) as the second Democratic representative expelled on Thursday, were filled with chants and an outpouring of support for the ousted representatives from the upstairs galleries.
Amid the outcries, a giant banner was unfurled, reading, “Rural TN Against Fascist GOP.”
The banner briefly hung over the railing of the upstairs gallery before being taken down by a staffer on the House floor.
The banner was just one of the many ways protesters made their voices heard Thursday night as they packed the Tennessee State Capitol and surrounding area outside.
On Thursday, Republicans voted to expel Pearson and Jones, while Rep. Gloria Johnson (D—Knoxville) narrowly kept her seat, as her expulsion fell one vote shy of its passage.
The votes came after the three Democrats occupied the well of the House last Thursday during peaceful protests in and around the Capitol building calling for an end to gun violence and the passage of gun control legislation. The protests were in reaction to the mass shooting at The Covenant School that killed six people, including three 9-year-old children.