Protesters To Gather At City Hall Plaza To Denounce White Supremacy | KERA News

Protesters To Gather At City Hall Plaza To Denounce White Supremacy

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A week after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., protesters will gather at City Hall Plaza in Dallas on Saturday night to denounce white supremacy.

The protest, originally planned to be held at the Confederate War Memorial in Dallas' Pioneer Park, was moved to better accommodate an expected crowd of thousands. The demonstration starts at 7:30 p.m. and will include several speakers. Here are the details.

In Solidarity protested at the memorial on Aug. 10. It ended with a heated confrontation with a few men carrying Confederate flags.

Dallas police will be supported by officers from Grand Prairie, Garland and the Department of Public Safety to cover the event, the Dallas Morning News reports. 

More: Someone vandalized the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in an Oak Lawn park overnight Friday.

Fate of Confederate monuments

In the past week, there's been discussion surrounding Dallas’ Confederate statues and schools named for Confederate leaders. Several Dallas leaders have called for the removal of the city’s Confederate symbols, but Mayor Mike Rawlings wants to form a task force on the matter.

“Look, this is simple,” Rawlings said Tuesday. “We can just remove them. The question is, how are we going to  start to heal on this issue? To do that we need to listen and talk to one another. And there’s a process to do that. So I am a big fan of moving quickly. But when we have a chance to learn from one another, I’ll take that moment.”

State Rep. Eric Johnson, who represents Dallas, wants a Confederate plaque near his capitol office removed immediately. Johnson on Wednesday asked the Texas State Preservation Board to remove the plaque. The board oversees Capitol grounds.

Johnson also called on Gov. Greg Abbott, along with the Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, to discuss other Confederate monuments and statues at the state Capitol.

A statement from Abbott Wednesday said removing them “won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future.” Abbott also condemned racist violence that followed last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here’s how other Texas officials responded.

More: Learn about three key moments in Dallas’ Confederate history.

‘On many sides’

During televised remarks about a bill signing Saturday that had already been on his daily schedule, President Trump addressed the events in Charlottesville. But, he did not condemn the white nationalist and white supremacist groups that protested the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, NPR reported.

In his initial remarks, he didn’t specifically address the vehicular attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. James Alex Fields, Jr., a 20-year-old man from Ohio, has been charged with murder for the fatal attack.

Instead, Trump alluded to shared blame between protesters and counterprotesters for failing to maintain peace in Charlottesville.

"We condemn in the strongest most possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides," Trump said.

On Monday, Trump specifically called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists in a statement read at the White House. But, then on Tuesday, Trump made another reversal and said "there's blame on both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville.

More: Here’s how four Texans thought he handled the crisis.

On Thursday, Trump defended the “beauty” of Confederate monuments.

NPR reported:

“President Trump stood by his heavily criticized defense of monuments commemorating the Confederacy in a series of tweets Thursday morning. Trump said removing the statues of Confederate generals meant removing ‘beauty’ — that would ‘never able to be comparably replaced’ — from American cities. As he did in a Tuesday press conference, he also attempted to equate some Confederate generals with some of the Founding Fathers.”

A&M cancels white nationalist rally

The same day things turned deadly in Charlottesville, a white nationalist announced a “white lives matter” event planned at Texas A&M University’s campus in September.

State lawmakers on Monday called on Texas A&M to block the rally. University leaders canceled the event, citing student safety.

Related coverage

Here are the most recent stories, both national and local, following the deadly unrest in Charlottesville. 

This post will be updated with coverage from the rally on Saturday.