Photo Gallery: Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

By: - June 15, 2020 6:00 am
Nashville, Tenn. - Hanging a banner on the former statue of Edward Carmack designating the space "Ida B. Wells Plaza." (Photo: Alex Kent)

Nashville, Tenn. – Hanging a banner on the former statue of Edward Carmack designating the space “Ida B. Wells Plaza.” (Photo: Alex Kent)

The weeks of demonstrations against police brutality that began when George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis began a new phase in Tennessee with the creation of an ‘autonomous zone’ just outside the Tennessee State Capitol Friday.

Dozens began occupying the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Friday afternoon, hangin hammocks and erecting tents for camping on the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville.

The first CHAZ was created in Seattle June 8 with a stated purpose of creating a no-government and no-police zone.

Gov. Bill Lee tweeted Friday that while he encouraged people to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, “lawlessness, autonomous zones, and violence will not be tolerated. Further, Tennessee law expressly prohibits campaign on state property not expressly designated as a campground area, and that law will be enforced.”

Sunday night, protestors were still camped on the plaza, on which they displayed a banner christening the space Ida B. Wells Plaza in honor of the Black journalist, anti-lynching activist and founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP.)

Freelance photojournalist Alex Kent captured the mood on the plaza as well as a Saturday afternoon Black Lives Matter march down Nashville’s Lower Broadway, in the heart of the tourist district.

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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.