Activist group says they will no longer occupy Legislative Plaza 24/7

Posted at 1:21 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 14:21:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Activists with the People’s Plaza say they will no longer occupy Legislative Plaza at the Capitol.

The group released a statement Friday, saying they’ve decided to move the protest to a “more sustainable format.”

“We will no longer occupy the Plaza 24/7, but we will continue to keep fighting and organizing for our goals. We are not leaving in fear of these unjust, unconstitutional and undemocratic laws. Rather, we recognize that our work takes a variety of approaches and tactics,” the group said in part. Read their full statement here.

Earlier this week, state lawmakers passed a bill that stiffens penalties for anyone camping illegally outside of the state capitol, making it a felony. Gov. Lee is expected to sign the bill.

Activists had been at the plaza since June calling for the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the Capitol. They also sought to defund and demilitarize the police and have former Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson fired. They also wanted to speak to Lee to “discuss systemic racism in Tennessee.”

The Capitol Commission later voted to remove the Forrest bust and two others from the Capitol -- although the Historical Commission must approve its relocation to the Tennessee State Museum. Anderson stepped down as police chief on Aug. 6 after previously announcing he would retire in Oct.