Nashville City Hall set on fire after George Floyd protest

Non-peaceful protesters were met by riot police and tear gas to quell the incident

Protesters look on as a fire blazes on the first floor of the Nashville Metropolitan Courthouse.

A government building was set on fire on Saturday after peaceful protests turned violent in Tennessee’s capital.

Dozens of protesters were arrested that evening in Nashville, where a building housing city hall and a courthouse burned, as reported by The Tennessean.

The fire was started after 8 p.m. CST as protesters gathered in front of the Nashville Metropolitan Courthouse following a peaceful march. Flames were spotted on the first floor of the building.

READ MORE: NYPD car ploys into protesters, mayor says they should have ‘gotten out of the way’

Nashville police, dressed in riot gear, later showed up on the scene and sprayed tear gas to disperse the crowd. Police also made use of fireworks and a smoke bomb, WKRN reports. Earlier that evening, demonstrators threw rocks at downtown building windows and the city hall.

Protesters also brought down a statue of Edward Carmack, a former Tennessee politician and newspaper publisher, that sat out front of the state capitol. Carmack wrote editorials denouncing the work of Ida B. Wells, a Black woman who made a name for herself documenting lynchings in Jim Crow America.

She is regarded as a pioneer of investigative journalism.

The Nashville Police Department reported that 30 businesses and buildings in the city’s downtown area were damaged and vandalized. Police vehicles were also destroyed, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mayor John Cooper declared a state of civil emergency, which was followed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee‘s move to deploy National Guard after 9 p.m.

Gov. Lee tweeted that he made the decision with Nashville Mayor John Cooper to call National Guard due to the “violent, unlawful turn” the protest made on Saturday evening.

READ MORE: Don Lemon calls out Hollywood stars by name during protest coverage

In all, 28 people were arrested.

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