Three days later, demonstrators remain outside Tennessee state capitol

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 07:33:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Demonstrators have been camping outside the Tennessee state capitol building for three days so far calling for a change.

Early Monday morning, demonstrators who call the movement "Free Capitol Hill" continued to protest for more than 60 hours straight hoping their voices are heard.

The activists say they have four main demands: defunding the police department, demilitarizing the police, removing confederate statues from the capitol, and calling for Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson to step down.

In addition, they want the state to rename Legislative Plaza after the late activist Ida B. Wells.

Activists feel their efforts will be worth it in the long run.

"I'm here because people are hurt, people are frustrated, myself included, and we have concerns that we want addressed," said Shawn Whitsell. "We are here camping out just trying to show the world that we're serious about what it is that we feel needs to happen in order for us to be safe, in order for people not to be killed in the streets the way we've seen over and over again."

Since these protesters do not have tents they aren't technically camping and don't legally have to leave the area.

Demonstrators said they don't plan to leave until Governor Lee takes time to speak with them on the issues.

"I think the first step is for these lawmakers to come down from the capitol and actually meet with people who have been here, sleeping here, staying here for three days to address policies of systemic racism, to look at why we spend so much on law enforcement and so little on health care, education in our state and to really look at where our priorities are," said Justin Jones. "We are calling for them to make systemic changes and policy changes and to hear directly from people who are impacted by these issues."