Local activists condemn riots — ” Do not be counterproductive to movements that are already successful”

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After what police are calling a riot broke out in Market Square Saturday night, local activists are condemning violent demonstrations.

Saturday night, rioters broke multiple windows of local businesses, also damaging some large flower pots and turning over several trash cans in the area.

Local activist Constance Every says the Black Lives Matter movement had nothing to do with Saturday night’s riot. Every says she does not support these kinds of demonstrations.

“I do discourage those types of movements because unfortunately when you don’t have your organization leadership in place to help assist those type of protest and demonstrations, you lead people more into a death trap. Do not be counterproductive to the movements that are already taking place that are successful and does have their leaderships attention.”

Constance Every, Black Lives Matter Knoxville

After a peaceful protest Friday, Every says violent demonstrations like what occurred in Market Square, take away from the overall purpose of the protests.

“Police brutality is the forefront of this. Don’t allow some of these unorganized protests that may have caused some minor distractions in your area be the distraction that takes the focus away from the main principle. If you have the demeanor to want to be violent and you’re doing unorganized protesting, understand you are going to be met with violence, and we are not trying to lose lives in our demonstrations, we are trying to gain and save lives through these demonstrations.”

Constance Every, Black Lives Matter Knoxville

Ruby Sunshine was one of the businesses that sustained damage. In security footage obtained by the Knoxville Police Department, you can see rioters throwing large objects at the windows of the restaurant. A few seconds later, another person comes along throwing another large object at the back window of the building, penetrating it.

“Let’s not hurt anybody, lets not make it harder for local businesses. It’s a hard enough time as it is. If there’s going to be a protest do it peacefully. There’s not a reason to hurt other people or other businesses that don’t have any part of it.” said Ruby Sunshine general manager, Danielle Wolfe.

The Knoxville Chamber building also suffered a broken window. In a statement, chamber representatives say they are focusing on solutions.

“The damage is minor and, as an organization, we are more focused on how we can collaborate on solutions that make everyone in our region feel safe, secure and included.”

Lynsey Wilson, VP, Marketing & Events for Knoxville Chamber

Ruby Sunshine is still open and operating. They say their window should be fixed in the coming days.

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