A crowd estimated in the hundreds gathered for a Police Appreciation Rally outside Houston City Hall Thursday evening. Participants wore blue as a show of support for "backing the blue" and held up a large banner reading WE BACK THE BLUE-POLICE LIVES MATTER, while several speakers used a megaphone to address the crowd.
Among the speakers, a woman who was a police officer for 11 years who told the crowd, "We were proud to help the people who needed our help...people don't call (the police) just to have a friendly chat, they call when they've been victimized...white, black, Hispanic...we're all victims at some point."
Another speaker was a young Hispanic man who said he's been called a disgrace to his community because of his support for police. "That's actually racist...just because I have my own views doesn't mean I should be a disgrace to the race I come from," he said as the crowd applauded. He closed by adding, "blue lives matter all the way!"
A group of counter-protesters showed up across the street shortly after the event began, holding signs and chanting things like "black lives matter" and "defund the police." Houston Police used guard rails to keep the two groups separate, but members of each party exchanged some heated words back and forth at times.