Rioters have set fire to Nashville City Hall on Saturday as protests continue to rage in the city’s downtown area over the death of George Floyd, seen in video shared by a local reporter.
The Tennessean reports the first floor of the City Hall, built in the mid-1930s, was engulfed by flames at around 8:15 p.m. local time.
BREAKING: they’ve set fire to Nashville’s city hall. It’s just in a window right now pic.twitter.com/DL2A7Kncyj
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) May 31, 2020
— AJ Abell (Fox17) (@aj_abell) May 31, 2020
— Sergio Martínez-Beltrán (@SergioMarBel) May 31, 2020
Protestors have just started a fire at City Hall in Nashville. pic.twitter.com/sTtM1Yeg1r
— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) May 31, 2020
“MNPD has deployed gas at the Historic Courthouse to protect the building after protestors set it on fire. NFD being escorted to building by officers,” the Metro Nashville Police Department said in a statement.
Earlier Saturday, Mayor John Cooper issued an executive order declaring a state of civil emergency and a curfew for 10 p.m.
At Cooper’s request, Gov. Bill Lee authorized “the National Guard to mobilize in response to protests that have now taken a violent, unlawful turn in Nashville.”
“The threat to both peace and property is unacceptable and we will work with local law enforcement and community leaders to restore safety and order. This is not a reflection of our state or the fundamental American right to peaceful protest,” Lee said.
On Saturday evening, demonstrators marched through downtown Nashville to a Metro Police Department. News 4 saw damage to police cruisers, graffiti to buildings in the area and at least one person was mased.
News 4 has located buildings damaged on Third Avenue and on Broadway. There is damage to the courthouse in Nashville and protesters were seen throwing police bicycles.
WeGo bus service temporarily suspended service on Saturday night “to protect the safety of riders and drivers” as protests continue in downtown Nashville. WeGo said it will let customers “know when regular operations resume.”
The city’s protests began at 3:00 p.m. near Legislative Plaza, where demonstrators kick off the event with chants of “No Justice, No Peace.”