JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Protesters gathered Thursday evening in Johnson City in response to the death of George Floyd, a man who died in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck until he became unresponsive.
The group started along West State of Franklin Road by the old mill and moved to the street in front of the Johnson City Municipal and Public Safety Building. Many of the protesters appeared to be juveniles.
Some of the signs read, “Black Lives Matter” and “I’ve had enough,” as some people passing by honked from their cars.
The organizer of West State of Franklin rally, who didn’t want to be identified by name, told us she put together this rally overnight on social media.
“Where everything is going on in the news with George Floyd being killed and tear gassing the protesters for that murder, we just want to show our love and support for everybody even though we don’t have as prominent of race problems in Johnson City, we still have race problems,” she said. “Everybody needs to show love and support at this time, it is challenging the world is falling apart around us it feels like so just be there to love each other.”
Some of the protesters from the State of Franklin rally made their way to East Main Street in front of the Municipal and Public Safety Building.
Police officers responded to the protest outside of the municipal building, where they asked protesters to get out of the road.
“We’re going to do it until something changes because nothing’s changed,” said protester Sierra Gilmer. “Nothing is ever going to change until a video goes viral and nobody would’ve known about this. There’s so many other things like this that happen that nobody talks about until it goes viral.”
Both gatherings happened without incident.
Floyd’s death has sparked riots and looting in Minneapolis, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to call in the National Guard on Thursday.