Nashville rally

Protesters stand atop a Nashville patrol car near Music City Hall.

“If you want change, I want everybody to look to your left and your right right now; that is your change, that is your progress, that is your independent mind ready to tell the world that we mean business.”

The words of Marcus Campbell, a bishop at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, echoed through downtown Nashville Saturday as thousands gathered near the State Capitol building for the “I Will Breathe” rally.

The rally’s name references some of the last words spoken by 46-year-old George Floyd, who on May 25 was killed by a Minneapolis police officer after the officer pinned his neck down for several minutes.

While initially peaceful, the rally devolved into chaos as tensions exploded between protesters and police.

As protesters marched from the Legislative Plaza towards a police station near the Music City Center, the first sign of conflict began when several police cars were damaged.

Before the end of the night, fires were started at both the Metro Nashville Courthouse and City Hall, with riot police and the National Guard being deployed to restore order in downtown Nashville.