Anti-Confederacy protesters took to the streets in Dallas, Texas, and attacked police officers at the end of a heated round of standoffs. Approximately 2,300 people turned out for the Saturday evening protest that lingered into the night.
“Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” chanted one group of protesters dressed in all-black, including masks, Fox4 Dallas reported. That group split off from the main march and headed toward the targeted Confederate monument. The local Fox affiliate reported some of the protesters donned gas masks and began throwing bottles at police officers.
Police reported several arrests, but no injuries, after they finally dispersed the crowd after the group’s permit expired at 9:30 p.m. Following the attacks, police put on riot gear and mounted patrol officers helped clear the park.
The rally, dubbed “Dallas Against White Supremacy,” began around 7:30 p.m. and drew more than 2,000 people to City Hall. Protesters carried signs denouncing white supremacy and President Donald Trump.
Groups calling for the tearing down of Confederate monuments came face to face with a smaller group dedicated to preserving the historical symbols. At one point, police led a man who confronted the anti-white supremacy protesters away from the scene to avoid escalation. The crowd began to chant, “Shame on you. Shame on you.”
The Dallas Morning News praised the protesters, claiming they “reflected America’s diversity.”
“Take them down. Take them down,” protesters chanted referencing nearby Confederate memorial statues.
“White supremacy comes with a body count,” Rev. Michael Waters, a senior pastor of Joy Tabernacle AME Church and one of the leaders of Faith Forward Dallas, told the crowd gathered near City Hall. “The blood of our ancestors cry out … justice should be delayed no more.”
Dallas police protected the crowd with heavy buses to prevent someone from driving into the crowd and with overhead sharpshooters to prevent the type of ambush attack that left five Dallas-area police officers dead following a 2016 Black Lives Matter protest.
One counter-protester, Charles Foy, said he is concerned about removing the history associated with the monuments. While he supports a civil discussion about the statues, he expressed concern that “we’ll have to do it to all the monuments, including George Washington.”
While some protesters carried firearms, police reported no arrests or injuries related to someone carrying or discharging a weapon.
One group, Texas Elite III Percent, told reporters they brought their firearms to “make sure things don’t get out of hand.” A spokesman said they had no intention of being violent and brought the firearms as a tool of last resort.