Group protests Confederate statues with die-in

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One Memphis group pretended to die in order to protest the delayed removal of Confederate statues in the city.

Friday, members of TakeEmDown901 gathered for a "die-in" outside FedExForum. The die-in was a response to Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) denying the city's request to remove the statues.

Protesters gathered in the plaza around 5:30 p.m. In unison, they all lay down outside the building as crowds started to arrive for the Memphis Grizzlies final preseason game of the year.

Memphis Police Department monitored the situation.

Wearing all black and making their voices loud and clear, their message was simple outside FedExForum:

"These statues that continue to stand to represent the suppression, must come down."

They're talking about the Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest Statues in Memphis.

"The Grizzlies, especially Coach Fizdale, are in support of Take Em Down 901, what better place to be," Colby Mitchell said.

People like Tami Sawyer took the 6-hour trip to attend the THC meeting Friday morning in Athens, Tennessee. She spoke at the meeting too.

"This is my requirement not just to fight these statues, but to fight the continued oppression," Sawyer said.

After voting down Memphis' waiver, THC voted in favor of a second petition to allow Memphis' arguments to be heard by a judge in November.

If the judge agrees, THC will hold a special meeting where Memphis could win the right to remove the statues.

Still, not everyone agrees the statues should come down.

"We should be adding to history, not destroying history," said Lee Miller with Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and many civil leaders also were at the meeting in Athens, Tennessee.

Take Em Down 901 said until these statues come down, they'll continue having more protests across the city.

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