protests

Protesters blocked from entering Capitol while Senate candidate hobnobs with lawmakers

State troopers rushed to block demonstrators from entering the state Capitol on Monday. Meanwhile on the inside of the building, U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty pressed the flesh with Republican lawmakers inside the building.

The protesters were given several reasons for why the couldn’t attend Monday’s floor session, including that House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) had closed the building to visitors and that the THP was concerned protesters had previously been involved in defacing the building. The Senate side of the Capitol complex has been closed to all visitors since the General Assembly returned from its coronavirus hiatus.

Later on Monday night, 21 protesters were removed from the Capitol complex for violating a camping ban.

Tennessee politicos react to upheaval

Nashville Mayor John Cooper walks by the Metro Courthouse damaged during weekend protests on May 31, 2020 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

 

Here’s how some elected officials reacted to statewide protests that included clashes with police, vandalism, and fires.

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Protests held in cities around Tennessee over coronavirus response

Protests were held in Tennessee cities over the weekend to demand an end to shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They included about 300 demonstrators rallying outside the state Capitol in Nashville, The Tennessean reports. The protests came as Tennessee’s confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 7,000, including 148 deaths.

“We’re all here for one reason,” Kim Edwards, a Nashville rally organizer, announced. “And it’s our rights. It’s our freedom.”

The protests followed tweets from President Donald Trump on Friday calling for people to “liberate” states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, where similar protests had taken place.

One of the protesters in Nashville appeared to be none other than former Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), who was thrown out of the General Assembly following allegations of serial sexual misconduct.

 

Casada’s office orders removal of women protesting Rep. Byrd

House Speaker Glen Casada’s office ordered troopers to remove six women holding signs protesting Rep. David Byrd’s chairmanship from a committee meeting.

The Associated Press reports the women sitting in the audience held signs at face-level reading “Enough is enough,” “Take a stand,” and “Protect constituents.” Three women have accused Bryd of sexual misconduct when they were teenage basketball players and he was their their 28-year-old high school basketball coach.

One of the women, Christi Rice, has since recorded a call to Byrd in which the lawmaker apologizes for unspecified transgressions. He has denied anything happened with other students.

“I wish I had a do-over because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would’ve never happened,” Byrd said in the recorded call. “But I hope you believe me when I say that it’s one of those things that I think about it all the time, and I always ask forgiveness for it and I hope you forgive me.”

Casada’s predecessor, Beth Harwell, had demanded Byrd’s resignation after the allegations were first aired by WSMV-TV last year. But Casada has deemed the allegations to be “fake news” and appointed Byrd chairman of an education subcommittee after he was overwhelmingly re-elected in November.

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Protesters disrupt Roe campaign event; he vows to ‘bury’ Democrats

Over a dozen people protesting President Trump’s immigration policies “crashed” U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s official announcement of his re-election campaign Monday, reports the Johnson City Press. One of them was a Democrat seeking her party’s nomination for the 1st Congressional seat. Roe subsequently told supporters he wants to “bury” Democrats in November.

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Nashville police arrest 21 protesters near state capitol

Nashville police arrested 21 protesters near the state Capitol complex on Monday, contending they were obstructing public passage through city streets, reports The Tennessean.
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Fitzhugh buys Titans tickets in response to Black boycott

Press release from Craig Fitzhugh campaign

House Democratic Leader and candidate for Governor, Craig Fitzhugh has bought Tennessee Titans Season Tickets after Republican candidate for Governor Diane Black returned hers because of her unwillingness to support several Titans’ players right to free speech.

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Rally at UT brings 45 white nationalists, 250 protesters, 200 law enforcement officers

About 45 white nationalists showed up for a Saturday rally on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus that was led by Matthew Heimbach, leader of a group known as Traditionalist Worker Party, reports the News Sentinel. So did 250 people protesting white nationalists and about 200 law enforcement officers from four different agencies.

There were no arrests, though six people were issued tickets for obstructing a highway during the protests, according to University of Tennessee Police Chief Troy Lane.

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Megasite waste water dumping site relocated after vocal local opposition

After vocal opposition from residents in and around the Tipton County community of Randolph, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, state officials are withdrawing their current plans for the Memphis Regional Megasite’s 35-mile long wastewater pipeline, reports the Memphis Daily News.

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Thousands attend Women’s March events in Tennessee; most in Nashville & Knoxville

Women’s March events in Tennessee, held in conjunction with similar rallies around the nation, drew thousands of participants, according to media reports. It appears the best-attended events were in Nashville on Saturday and Knoxville on Sunday.

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