Two days after a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from the Dallas park named after him, a group called the “This Is Texas Freedom Force” held a protest rally at the empty pedestal Saturday morning.
Using Facebook to organize, the group shared transportation details and encouraged folks with gun licenses to come armed. They also cautioned potential protesters that racist activities would not be tolerated.
Mark Callaway, toting a Confederate flag, traveled 57 miles from Wills Point in East Texas. He said this protest wasn't about race or anything malicious. He says it was about history and respect.
“I’m a supporter of the men that died for our country," Callaway said. "They're history. They sacrificed a lot. They deserved to be remembered, not pushed away to the side.”
About 115 people turned out. A couple dozen were actually armed.
A small tussle broke out between a man in Black Lives Matter T-shirt and a supporter of the Lee statue. The counter-protester was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, police said.
Other than that, the protest went off without a hitch.
The leader of the “This Is Texas Freedom Force” – Robert Beverly – told those gathered that this won’t be the last that Dallas sees of his group.