NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Protesters say their demands have not changed in the 10 days they’ve occupied the plaza across from the State Capitol.
In the past 10 days, they’ve made it clear they will leave the plaza as long as they either get an audience with Governor Bill Lee or the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is removed from the Capitol.
Governor Lee hasn’t directly addressed the protesters. In conversations with his staff, there was no indication on if the governor intended to any time soon.
Monday was a relatively calm day compared to others where tensions ran high between troopers and protestors. The only exception came early in the morning when protesters walked across the street and staged a sit-in on the grass of the capitol plaza.
They demanded the return of their “Ida B. Wells Plaza” sign that was confiscated earlier that day allegedly by a trooper. When the sign was returned, protesters agreed to cross the street and go back to where they were originally located.
The whole exchange lasted only a few minutes before protesters were calmly led by troopers, off the property.
After which, multiple cars continued to drop off food, medical supplies, water and tarps for what’s expected to be a week of strong storms.
Protesters say they prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for themselves and the countless “houseless” people who may or may not typically sleep near the plaza.
Angel Stansberry is one of four organizers who’s work with helping to feed who she calls the “houseless.” As she puts it, if her team is around with food and supplies, these people will always have a home.
Stansberry is often one of the most prominent voices you’ll hear among protestors given her close relationship with the indigent community and her experience sharing resources with those who need it the most.
She’s been at the plaza every day since the demonstrations began and says they don’t plan on going anywhere. Given how people have embraced their movement, they know they have the support to keep going even through the rough weather.
She points to one supporter who showed up with a power washer on Monday, just in case the state uses the excuse again of having to remove the protesters to clean the plaza. Now they’re prepared.
Protesters have timed out their shift changes to match that of the state troopers, but those who come after 7 p.m. typically spend the night according to Stansberry.
We did reach out to state patrol who tell us they have been directed to stand guard outside the capitol every day, as long as the protesters remain across the street.