HOUSTON – At the steps of Houston’s City Hall, a group of nearly 100 people gathered for a “Police Appreciation Rally,” Thursday evening.
The organizer, Charlie Diggs, said the event is to support law enforcement.
“If we don’t have police on our corner, it’s going to be a bad world,” Diggs previously told KPRC 2. “We need to stand beside them at all costs. They have to know that we are there. They have to know that they are supported.”
“These guys are hard-working family guys that are just doing their job that nobody else wants to do. And we’re here to support them,” said John Paul Villarreal, the President of the Houston Chapter of Thin Blue Line Motorcycle Club.
“We’re doing it to show all law-enforcement across the nation that we still have their back,” Diggs said.
A group of opposing demonstrators also showed up at City Hall. Many held signs emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” and calling for the defunding of the police department.
“People are enraged because nobody wants to have a conversation, have that affective communication and get to some type of common ground,” explained Daria Savannah, who was demonstrating against the police appreciation rally.
At one point during the event, both sides spoke to each other through bullhorns and past the barricades that separated them.
“The only way that we can hear each other and hash out our problems is first off talking to each other with respect. There has to be a level of respect,” said Justin James Jones, who was also demonstrating against the rally.
It wasn’t long though before tensions grew as each side remained separated.
“I didn’t really understand the need for a police lives or a blue lives matter movement in the midst of this black lives matter movement,” Savannah said.
“I hoped for a bigger turnout but everybody here was happy with it. We came out, we showed up. We did what we came here to do,” said Diggs.
Here is a Facebook Live stream of the event: