Peaceful protest draws several hundred to downtown Knoxville

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Knoxville for a peaceful protest — the “March on Knox.”

RELATED: FOLLOW: Coverage of the ‘March on Knox’ in downtown

The protest was organized by recent UT graduate Denicia Lofton, with the help of a few friends. She says she got the idea at the beginning of the week. She put an announcement on Facebook and it quickly got the attention of thousands of people in the area.

Denicia says the main goal was to show that large groups of people can gather, and let their voices be heard without becoming violent. The demonstrators marched from the Knoxville Convention Center to Market Square, all while remaining peaceful.

RELATED: Knox County mayor supports peaceful protests

“We’re here because of George Floyd we’re here because of Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery — all the black lives that have gotten killed innocently. We’re here to protest and show awareness and just bring the community together,” Kariah Cook, an attendee of the rally, said.

Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt also made an appearance and gave a short speech, as did some Tennessee players. Pruitt said he was there to support his players.

Joshua Palmer, a wide reciever for the Vols also attended with some of his teammates.

“We just wanted to express ourselves and just have everyone come together,” Palmer said.

For Chylynne Price, being at the rally was personal.

“That could have been my brother, my father, my cousin, my nephews. It’s crazy that this is still happening 400 plus years later,” Price said.

At one point, the protest took an emotional pause in the middle of Market Square.

Every demonstrator kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to represent the amount of time George Floyd spent face down on the ground with a knee to his neck.

Denicia Lofton says she doesn’t want the activism to stop here.

“I want to challenge everyone to keep going, keep protesting, keep signing petitions, keep donating, keep making your voice heard,” Lofton said.

The protest remained peaceful, a powerful display of unity in Knoxville.

PHOTOS: March on Knox protest in downtown Knoxville

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