"We respect each individual’s right to peacefully assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances. However, the Town will not tolerate violence, the destruction of property, or personal injury," reads a Tuesday afternoon press release from the Town of Rogersville.
This statement was released in response to confirmation of a protest scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at 5 p.m. in downtown.
Both the leader of the civil rights group known as the New Panthers Initiative, who are organizing the protest, and RPD Chief Doug Nelson have confirmed for the Review that the protest will still take place.
The town's statement reads as follows:
"The Town of Rogersville has received information, pursuant to informal notification contained in social media as well as various media publications and broadcasts, that a Black Lives Matter demonstration is being planned to be held in Rogersville on July 11, 2020. The Administration of the Town has taken notice of other similar demonstrations that have been held in various municipalities throughout the State of Tennessee and the nation, some of which have been peaceful and some of which have been violent; leading to the destruction of property and personal injury.
The Town of Rogersville is a peaceful community and municipality which has been in existence since 1775 and bears the distinction of being the second oldest town in Tennessee. We are proud to have forged a history of a town without racial or class discord of any nature whatsoever. We believe our community is an embodiment of the declaration that “all men are created equal” as contained in our nation’s Declaration of Independence. The citizens of our Town, of all races, colors, and religions, have gone to great efforts to preserve the historical character and beauty of the Town of Rogersville, and we are proud of what we have accomplished together.
We respect each individual’s right to peacefully assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances. However, the Town will not tolerate violence, the destruction of property, or personal injury. The Town and all its public safety resources will be available to ensure that our citizens and the public will be protected.
Jim Sells, Mayor"
This Review will continue to cover this story and the planned protest. Stay tuned to our Weekend edition for further coverage.