NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Protesters marched through downtown Nashville and to the State Capitol steps against a recent law signed by Governor Bill Lee that allows for harsher punishments for acts during certain types of protests. They say it limits their right to peacefully assemble.
“Using your voice to speak on the problems we face it’s going to influence people to see us and hear our voices and hear what we have to say,” said Rienne Hill, a newer member and organizer of Teens4Equality.
Groups Teens4Equality and the People’s Plaza rallied protesters against the newly passed law that allows for harsher punishments for acts during certain types of protesting like camping on state property can be charged with a felony or use of chalk would be considered felony vandalism.
“These people they rule on fear but I’m here to say I’m not scared of them,” said a speaker at the protest.
The group says they feel the law directly targets protesters who’ve stayed outside the capitol for more than two months and is meant to prevent peaceful protests.
“Because what’s happening is an attempt to try to make us afraid to protest and so what we’re going to do is make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Justin Jones with People’s Plaza.
“We won’t be hushed clearly they want to silence us because clearly they don’t want to be exposed for what’s going on in our community,” said Hill.
The law passage garnered the attention of the ACLU tweeting their concern felony charges for protesting would take away people right to vote saying:
“Dissent is patriotic, not criminal.
We will be closely monitoring the enforcement of this law, which undermines our freedom of speech and is a national embarrassment.”
“And so now the next fight is in the courts the fight is to strike this out unconstitutional,” said Jones.
The groups say they will be back out planning more protests for the near future.