Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers responded to Overton Park at around 11 a.m. Saturday as hundreds of protesters attempted to prevent parking on the Greensward.
Officers from Crump Station said about 200 protestors “were laying in the grassy area refusing to move,” according to a statement from MPD.
“This protest is the latest effort to prevent the Memphis Zoo from using part of Overton Park for overflow parking on the grass,” the statement said. “At this point, this appears to be a peaceful protest. Officers are on the scene and monitoring the situation.”
The protest was planned by park advocacy groups Citizens to Protect Overton Park and Get Off Our Lawn, a group organized specifically to protest Greensward parking. The event, called Greensward Play Date, was for “peaceful play and protest.”
Here is the advice form the groups for anyone planning to sit in the area of the Greensward designated for Memphis Zoo parking:
“We endorse all forms of peaceful protest,” read the Facebook invitation. “We do not endorse vandalism or violent behavior. We expect all of our supporters to treat other people with civility. In particular, if you interact with zoo employees or zoo visitors, please remember to be friendly.”