Protests over downtown Houston statue

On a hot and humid Saturday afternoon in downtown Houston, folks met to talk about a statue. It's called "Spirit of the Confederacy" and it was installed in 1908 by the Robert E. Lee chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

"We are a predominantly black and brown city and we can't be walking around facing systemic racism in the form of statues, street names," says Ashton P. Woods, leader and founder of Black Lives Matter Houston. "I don't recall going to Germany and finding a statue named after Hitler." 

The statue caused a protest where Houston police say approximately 450 people arrived demanding for it to be taken down.

"I'm here to lend my voice and my support to this movement because I believe that people need to be treated equally and they are not right now," says Emily Evans, who says she supports Black Lives Matter Houston.

Police also say around 70 others showed up wanting to keep the statue.

"Most of these people had no idea this statue was even here last week," says Rick Smith.

"If we have to come out here and stand out here, that is what we are going to do," says Laura Lee in agreement with Smith.

While some held posters, others raised their voices to be heard.

"We as Americans have to unite as one before we are ever going to put an end to what is happening to our nation today," says Rusty Johnson. 

"As long as everybody respects everyone else's rights and obeys the law and doesn't put someone else at harm and doesn't try to destroy public property, we are your partners," says assistant chief of Homeland Security with the Houston Police Department Larry Satterwhite. "We are here to be here with you. It's your first amendment right to express and we are going to be here to make sure that happens but it has to happen peacefully and in accordance with the law." 

Woods says it's not just the statue that the group is concerned about, but a much larger issue.

"We also need to have a larger conversation about the micro-aggressive racism that we face everyday," adds Woods.