Saturday’s protest on the Overton Park Greensward was peaceful (at least as of early Saturday afternoon), though there was no lack of police or protestors.
As they announced Friday, the Memphis Zoo erected a long line of gates to separate the third of the Greensward it used for overflow parking Saturday.
As they announced this week, hundreds of protestors showed up with signs, chants, music, dogs, and more to urge zoo visitors to park somewhere other than the Overton Park Greensward.
The Memphis Police Department issued a heavy show of force at the scene Saturday. Police cruisers were stationed at park entrances.
On the Greensward, uniformed officers stood in groups to monitor the protestors and zoo visitors. Officers in in Kevlar vests kept watch from a distance of the protesters outside the Greensward wall.
MPD mobile units were visible on the zoo grounds across the fence east of Rainbow Lake. An unmarked blue-and-white helicopter circled over the Greensward for at least 45 minutes Saturday morning. It wasn’t clear if the helicopter was police or local television news media.
The wall provided fodder for many protests signs, some comparing it to the Berlin Wall.
But the wall also organized the event, assuring distances between protesters, police, and zoo visitors. A protester said the wall served to keep zoo parkers from driving the length of the rest of the Greensward, as some have done in the past few weekends.