HOUSTON - Protesters marched the streets of Houston Saturday afternoon calling for the removal of a Confederate statue at Sam Houston Park.
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The Houston Police Department and city leaders said they are ready and prepared for Saturday's protest at the park.
Organizers estimate hundreds of demonstrators will show up demanding the removal of a statue that was placed there more than 100 years ago to honor Confederate soldier who fought in the Civil War.
The protest will be led by Black Lives Matter Houston.
"We can't stand for that anymore," Ashton Woods of Black Lives Matter Houston said. "I stand here with BLM but I also recognize that I am a human rights activist. That means I will stand with anybody who has been marginalized."
The city hopes to avoid scenes like the ones from Charlottesville, Virginia, last week -- the deadly protest that spun out of control and led to further backlash against Confederate monuments nationwide.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo sent out the warning against any planned violence.
"Word to the wise, if you intend to come to Houston, Texas, and exercise your First Amendment right to free speech, you're welcome to be here," Acevedo said. "If you want to come to Houston, Texas, to engage in any type of unlawful activity, engage in any type of violence, you are not welcome here."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who said HPD's crowd control ability was on display during February's Super Bowl week, echoed the chief's sentiments. He also offered Houstonians a direct plea.
"Don't allow the national discourse and people's frustration and anger with what people are saying or doing, in a sense, on a national level to filter down into our city here. We are tearing each other apart," Turner said.
The demonstration will take place outside the park's fence because of an event that was previously scheduled.
HPD said there will be minimal street closures in the area.
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