MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday morning, people who have been camping outside of Memphis City Hall for the last two weeks were moved.
People have been sleeping in tents, feeding the homeless, and protesting police brutality in front of city hall.
Protesters that camped out in front of Memphis City Hall for at least two weeks or so said they were not ready to leave Wednesday morning and end their protest.
Some of them said they were ready to accept the consequences that came with staying out here.
Some of them even roped and chained themselves to the gate in front of Memphis City Hall.
Several protesters were taken and some carried away in handcuffs 40 minutes after officers ordered them to clear the area in front of city hall.
“We are not prepared to end our protest unless we are forced to do so because it is our first amendment right to be here and this is all political speech and public property,” said a protester.
Memphis Police officers arrived around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday to tell protestors beginning at 6 a.m. they needed to remove themselves from the area in front of Memphis City Hall.
The city gave an order to protesters to clear the area by 7:30 a.m.
Many of the people were protesting several things which include police brutality and the issue of homelessness.
“I feel hurt and betrayed by our leaders they are not doing what they are supposed to do,” said Hunter Dempster.
“Every single one of these police officers have a choice right now,” he said. “They can choose to walk off the job right now. They are choosing to do the immoral wrong thing.”
“You think it’s going to stop but the easiest way for this to stop would’ve been to have a conversation and put a policy in place so we can see some formidable change,” said Theryn Bond. “Until we see formidable change things like this will continue to happen.”
Later, around 8:45, police arrested approximately 12 more protesters.
According to MPD, 17 people were arrested Wednesday morning.
Groups provided bail support for several people arrested outside Memphis City Hall.
Those protesters were expected to be released from jail sometime Wednesday. They were expected to be released around 4 p.m. but that did not happen.
Those offering support for the ones who were arrested remained outside 201 Poplar waiting for their release.
The said they’re not leaving until every single person is released.
Regina Clarke helped the people who were arrested get out of jail said the minute people started donating tents and food for the homeless is when police all of a sudden started taking everything down.
“Because they not only arrested activists, they arrested unhoused people who were simply sleeping and were simply resting after being put on notice that they had to be gone by 7:30,” Clarke said. “People came out to help them, and these people were all attacked and were arrested.”
Following this morning’s events at City Hall, City of Memphis Chief Communications Officer Ursula Madden released a statement about construction at the building.
Madden said that in addition to alternative protest sites being given, the Hospitality Hub was on site yesterday and today to offer assistance on housing opportunities for anyone experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
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