About 500 Black Lives Matter protesters marched on Sam Houston Park Saturday afternoon to call for the removal of the 109-year old "Spirit of the Confederacy" statue. It's the latest in a series of demonstrations around the nation about the proper place for confederate memorials. Some protesters wanted the statue simply taken down. Others told KTRH News there might be a place for them somewhere else.
“If they want to have a museum for Confederate history, that’s fine” one Black Lives Matter demonstrator told KTRH.
About 100 counter-demonstrators also showed up, some carrying confederate flags.
“I’m supporting our history. I’ve never even walked down there to look at the statue. It’s been there for years, and only now there’s a controversy,” one counter protester said.
Houston police erected barriers to keep the groups apart. One counter-protester was told to leave when he tried to cross the line.
Both demonstrations were otherwise peaceful. Larry Satterwhite with HPD told KTRH there were no arrests.
“I’m happy as things have progressed,” Satterwhite said.
Even Black Lives Matter protesters were happy with how things went.
“HPD was amazing. I said that and people started booing me. That was sad, but the HPD had things under control,” one protester told KTRH.
The “Spirit of the Confederacy” statue, which has stood in Sam Houston Park since 1908, was never at risk because the park was closed.
In the wake of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia there is a heavy police presence in the area, and the park has been closed. At a press conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says, “we will have sufficient resources at the event to ensure that anyone who shows up, with whatever point of view they have, they can exercise their rights in a safe environment.”
While both organizers and counter-demonstrators insist they will be protesting peacefully, they have recommended that participants leave their children at home.
Similar demonstrations are taking part around the country. In Boston, thousands protesters and counter-demonstrators created some tense moments as they shouted one another down. Eight people were arrested.