MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Protesters continued to camp outside of Memphis City Hall on Monday, demonstrating against the Memphis Police Department’s budget.
Monday marked the 13th-straight day protesters slept in tents at Civic Center Plaza.
The group is asking the city to cut MPD’s budget and redirect the funds to things like education and housing for the homeless.
Protester Salamander Pride has been camping outside of City Hall since the first day of protests. She said she quit her job last week so she could focus on protesting full-time.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna just give up this paycheck, just stay in this tent,'” Pride said.
She said it was a drastic step, but one she and other protesters were willing to make in order to get their message to city leaders.
“When we talk about defund the police, we’re talking about redistributing those resources to meet people’s basic needs,” activist Hunter Demster said. “It all comes back to getting the root causes of these issues. If people’s basic needs are met, watch the drastic decline in crime.”
In a letter released Monday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city would not be cutting the police department’s budget.
But he did note the amount of money being spent on education and said the city spent $60 million for “services directly supporting our young people” such as libraries and summer jobs.
On Sunday, protesters dug up a portion of grass outside City Hall to plant fruits and vegetables to help the homeless in the area. They are calling it a community garden.
“A small act of civil disobedience that has real purpose and has real value to our city,” Demster said.
Protesters did not say how long they would remain outside City Hall. Many said they were willing to stay until their demands have been met.
WREG asked the city if the protesters would be allowed to continue but never received a response.
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