Nashville City Hall Set On Fire After George Floyd Rally
On the evening of May 30, the first floor of Nashville City Hall was set on fire following an afternoon rally. Videos taken of City Hall depict a crowd of people lobbing objects into a broken window. In additional videos, orange flames emanate from other shattered windows. The videos also depict extensive vandalism on City Hall and protesters announcing that police were on the scene. According to News 5, the Nashville Fire Department has begun an investigation into who started the fire.
According to the Tennessean, the fire started around 8:15 p.m. Around 8:45 p.m., Mayor John Cooper declared a state of civil emergency, and shortly after 9 p.m., Governor Bill Lee deployed the Tennessee National Guard at the request of Mayor Cooper. Cooper also imposed a 10 p.m. curfew and Metro Nashville Police made arrests to enforce the curfew, according to the Tennessean.
On Saturday afternoon, organizers held an “I Will Breathe” rally in downtown Nashville. According to Equity Alliance, one of the organizers of the rally, the event drew roughly 4,000 protesters. Mayor Cooper attended the rally and encouraged the Metro Council to attend as well.
“This is an especially critical time for all of us, as Metro’s leaders, to show up and listen to Black voices from across Davidson County as they speak out against the senseless killing of George Floyd and the deep-seated issues of racial injustice in our country,” Cooper said in a tweeted statement.
At 4:40 p.m., the Vanderbilt Hustler reported that the protest “has thus far been peaceful” and that organizers continued to remind attendees to remain peaceful. At 5:30 p.m., Natalie Allison of the Tennessean reported early signs of violence during the march. Videos of the march depict vandalism and physical altercations between protesters and police. In one altercation, protesters smashed the windows of a police cruiser with the officer inside. Tensions continued to escalate as the evening wore on. Live updates from the Vanderbilt Hustler reported that protesters vandalized statues, broke windows, and attempted to push the police line back. At 8:23 p.m., police deployed tear gas and flashbang grenades outside City Hall, according to Allison’s
Today’s protest was peaceful and unified. ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾
We witnessed white people defacing public property while marching and told them to stop. The people now attempting to set fire to the Metro Courthouse right now are NOT associated with today’s peaceful protest rally. It ain’t us. pic.twitter.com/eUuYXzMYAv
— The Equity Alliance (@EquityAlliance1) May 31, 2020
Thousands on hand for the George Floyd rally in Nashville. Taking up practically all of legislative plaza and stretching all the way to the State Capitol steps. pic.twitter.com/4eiAdheexk
— Adam Tamburin (@tamburintweets) May 30, 2020
THE COURTHOUSE IN DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE IS ON FIRE; PROTESTERS CLASHING WITH COPS