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Protesters descend on the Tennessee Capitol again amid vote to expel Dem lawmakers who disrupted House floor proceedings

Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones (Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)

A large group of protesters again descended on the Tennessee Capitol on Thursday as the House prepared to vote on removing three Democratic lawmakers who disrupted floor proceedings last week.

Last Thursday, anti-gun protesters rushed the state Capitol to call for stricter gun measures. At one point, the rowdy group attempted to push past a line of Tennessee State Troopers. One of those protesters was temporarily detained by officers and eventually released back into the crowd.

The group gathered outside on the building's steps and inside the hallways and legislative session chambers. Protesters occupying the Senate chamber's gallery were removed after they began shouting down at the lawmakers during proceedings.

Democratic state Representatives Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson encouraged the boisterous crowd to continue protesting.

The three lawmakers were accused of disrupting House floor proceedings after pulling out a megaphone and leading the protesters in chanting.

Johnson, Jones, and Pearson now face expulsion from a Republican majority House.

Protesters again gathered at the state Capitol ahead of the vote on Thursday. They voiced their support for the lawmakers by shouting, "Free, free, free, free the Tennessee three."

Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton told Fox News Digital that the vote to determine whether to expel the lawmakers had nothing to do with the anti-gun protests outside the House chamber.

"I want to make sure everybody knows this has nothing to do about the protest outside the House chamber or the protests outside the Capitol," Sexton stated. "This is about these three members' actions on the House floor, how they shut us down, and how they led protests from the House chamber to those [people] in the balcony."

Sexton added that he plans to vote in favor of expelling the Democratic lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Jones criticized House Republicans for the expulsion vote.

"It's morally insane that a week after a mass shooting took six lives in our community, House Republicans only response is to expel us for standing with our constituents to call for gun control. What's happening in Tennessee is a clear danger to democracy all across this nation," Jones wrote.

Sexton fired back at Jones and clarified that he and the other Democratic lawmakers were being considered for expulsion because they disrupted House proceedings.

"He's trying to make this about the protesters. He's trying to make this about what people were protesting about. Their voices were not silenced. This has nothing to do with anything that happened outside the House chamber," Sexton stated.

"These three individuals stormed up to the well where you speak from without being recognized, did not display decorum, they disrupted the proceedings where we had to shut down, pulled out a megaphone and started to lead the balcony in protest for the next 30 to 45 minutes," he continued. "Their actions on the House floor rise to the level of expulsion. We cannot allow these types of things to take place in the people's House."

On Monday, the House voted to remove the three Democratic lawmakers from their committee assignments.

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