After a week filled with racially charged demonstrations and disputes across the country, protesters are set to square off Saturday afternoon in Sam Houston Park.
After Black Lives Matter Houston scheduled an hour-long “Destroy the Confederacy!” event calling for the removal of the Spirit of the Confederacy statue, counter-protesters announced plans to show up as well.
Activists advised protesters not to bring children to the event, and Houston police held a press conference to assure the city of its preparedness.
“We have an indication that folks with a different perspective might show up, and the bottom line is 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,” Chief Art Acevedo said.
ACTIVISM: Protesters rally their forces over Confederate monument
The warring rallies cap off a racially fraught week in Houston and across the country.
Last Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer died after a reported Nazi sympathizer allegedly plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters opposing a white supremacist march in Charlottesville.
Afterward, the president drew harsh criticism for a statement placing blame on “many sides.” He later came out to denounce the KKK and neo-Nazis but walked back his comments the following day when the said white nationalist protesters included “some very fine people.”
Meanwhile, the right-wing cause celebre that sparked the Virginia gathering in the first place gained more steam nationally. The Charlottesville chaos all kicked off with a nighttime white nationalist rally in support of a Robert E. Lee statue, which the city had planned to remove.
But last Saturday’s chaos sparked renewed interest nationwide in Confederate statues – and whether they should be taken down.
Two days after the Virginia in violence, activists tore down a Confederate statue, and this week activists in Houston started circulating a petition calling for the removal of Bayou City monuments to the Confederacy.
On Thursday, Trump again weighed in on the national debate with a tweetstorm branding the removal of Confederate statues as “so foolish.”
That night in Houston, vandals doused Bell Park’s Christopher Columbus statue with red paint and tossed white paint over a Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Sunnyside.
“We typically see things like this once or twice a year, but I’m expecting we’re going to see this happen a lot more often in the next couple of weeks,” restorer Bob Pringle said as his crew cleaned the Bell Park statue. “It’s unfortunate. This is not the kind of work you enjoy.”