"Anyone on the streets will be arrested" | Nashville under curfew after peaceful protest turns violent
According to CBS affiliate
, a rally in downtown Nashville which began peaceful turned into vandalism and shattered windows as hundreds of people protested against police brutality and racism after the death of George Floyd.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced on Twitter that he's mobilized the National Guard in response to protests that turned violent in Nashville.
On Saturday night, protesters set several fires inside the Metro Courthouse.
Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted it "deployed gas at the Historic Courthouse to protect the building after protestors set it on fire. NFD being escorted to building by officers."
Metro Police have announced a 10 p.m. curfew. Mayor John Cooper has also signed an Executive Order declaring a civil emergency.
The event started peacefully.
Dozens of speakers, including Nashville Mayor John Cooper, spoke for nearly two hours to a crowd of thousands before beginning a march down Fourth Avenue and onto Broadway. That march then headed to Metro Police Central Precinct on Korean Veterans Boulevard.
But that's when the rally turned violent, with police cars smashed, windows broken, and graffiti spray painted across buildings and cars.
SWAT officers and mounted patrol arrived after a crowd gathered at Metro Police Central Precinct and Music City Center on Korean Veterans Boulevard late Saturday afternoon. Some protesters began to smash the windows of police cruisers and tried to light one on fire. Metro police said several people have been arrested near the precinct, but they did not give any details on the arrest.
Later in the evening, some of the protesters spray painted messages near the Music City Center and on the Metro Courthouse, while others threw objects through the courthouse windows. Drone footage captured rocks and water bottles being thrown at officers.
Crowds disbursed after 10 p.m. Saturday night.
Around 11:30 p.m., MNPD said downtown is "essentially cleared." MNPD & THP maintained a presence and said anyone on the streets will be arrested.