AUSTIN (KXAN) — A small White Lives Matter demonstration evolved into a much larger scene in downtown Austin Saturday afternoon. According to Austin Police, over 300 people made up the White Lives Matter and the counter protests that both began around noon. Eight people in the crowd were arrested.
The White Lives Matter group came from Houston. They say they were trying to send the message that white people are also killed by police and hate crimes should be handled evenly across the board.
“If you do something to me because you don’t like me, you should be charged with a hate crime. Just like if I did something to these people, it should be a hate crime. We are out here as Americans wanting justice, that’s it,” said one of the activists for the White Lives Matter group.
But for some in the crowd, they say the group is supporting racism. “We just wanted to drown them out and not give them a platform for hate,” said one of the counter-protesters Elizabeth Nitz.
Austin Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety were at the scene in riot gear and on mounted patrol. Surrounded by police officers, the White Lives Matter group walked from the Capitol to a parking garage while tensions grew.
There were eight arrests made at the protest, DPS said. Below are the names of the individuals arrested on misdemeanor charges:
- Joseph Wayne George, 36, interference with public duty
- Ryan Christopher Garl, 27, assault
- Joseph Clyde Hinkle, 28, assault
- Robert M. Ussery, 52, assault
- David Chau, 32, evading arrest
- Richard Murry, 28, disorderly conduct
- Robert Francis Glynn, 25, evading arrest
- Thomas Francis McGuire, 31, assault
Those arrested were booked into the Travis County Jail. KXAN cameras caught the arrest of Richard Murry. Murry could be heard yelling while being placed in handcuffs that he was being arrested for throwing a water bottle at the White Lives Matter group.
Saturday’s White lives matter demonstration was scheduled just after the dedication of the Texas African-American History Memorial on the south lawn of the Capitol; a move the organizer says is purely coincidental. The memorial honors African-American Texans and their contributions to our state.
Meanwhile, the anti-fascism counter protests turned out to counter the White Lives Matter protest with online posts explaining they didn’t want to give the white lives protest a platform.