Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Hermann Park Saturday afternoon amid word that a group affiliated with the militant ‘Antifa’ movement planned to call for the removal of the nearly 100-year old statue of Sam Houston.
The monument has been standing since the 1920’s, but a social media post by a group calling itself Texas Antifa announced they were calling for its removal with a Saturday rally, just weeks after monuments to confederate figures were taken down in New Orleans. The post further claimed that after the monument was removed in Hermann Park, the next target would be the iconic “Big Sam” statue, which stands on the side of Interstate 45 in Huntsville.
There are questions about the authenticity of the post, and the rally never occurred; but that didn’t stop the counterdemonstration from taking place.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo provided a law enforcement presence at Hermann Park following the initial announcement. Some of the counterdemonstrators were carrying guns, but Acevedo says they were not breaking the law.
Elsewhere, it was a busy day for protesters. For the second time this month, rallies were held in nearly two dozen US cities against Sharia Law. The demonstration and counter protest took place at the San Jacinto battleground in LaPorte.
The protests are sponsored by the group Act for America, which has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Organizers defend the protests, saying they are fighting for human rights.