Memphis protest organizers educate protesters with civil disobedience training

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After eight straight days of pounding the pavement and chanting for change, local activists and citizens came together in a different way Thursday evening.

A group of social leaders led civil disobedience training a beginner’s level crash-course in how to protest at the National Civil Rights Museum.

“An all-call for people to put their bodies on the line to protect us as we fight for what’s our right,” said Keedran Franklin with Black Lives Matter Memphis.

The training was not necessarily teaching protesters how to move differently, but helping them deliver their message more effectively and helping them know their rights when they’re delivering it.

“It’s something that has to happen,” Franklin said. “As you can see, it’s people that are not being quiet anymore.”

Organizers walked through historical precedents and laws for protesting and explained how to react in a protest if trouble arises or if law enforcement steps in, and even how to protect those who might be targeted in the crowd.

These lessons could prove valuable because while local government officials have agreed to meet with protesters across the next four weeks, there’s no set date for these demonstrations to end.

“We’ll let protests go until we feel like our city’s healed,” protest organizer Devante Hill said. “There’s no time limit on it. The reality is, a peaceful protest doesn’t hurt anybody.”

Protest organizers said there could be more training sessions in the future, but they’re hoping for one improvement that no instructor can teach.

“Things move at their own time, but it’s continuing to get more people out to learn training, to be able to move more effectively,” Franklin said.

The next scheduled protest is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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