Texas organizers say local police did not protect protesters from opposing groups

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WEATHERFORD, Texas – Community leaders say local law enforcement in Texas did not protect protesters from opposing groups after weekend rallies turned violent.

Local law enforcement disbanded a protest in Weatherford over the removal of a Confederate monument, saying it was unlawful after a confrontation with counter-protesters. But organizer Tony Crawford, of Parker County Progressives, said police did not seem to know what to do and failed to protect the protesters.

Crawford's group and Fort Worth-based Enough is Enough coordinated the protest on Saturday that supported removal of the statue. The groups had planned to march from a city park to the Parker County Courthouse. But they were met with hundreds of counter-protesters who thought the statue would be damaged.

Some in the crowd carried Confederate flags, yelled racial slurs and threw water bottles, Crawford said.

“It got to a point where I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to get everybody out of there safely,” Crawford said. “We don’t want to touch that statue because anything that happens to that statue is going to get blamed on me.”

Jim Webster, a former Parker County commissioner, was among the counter-protesters. He said citizens stood up to bullies that came to take down their statue.

Videos show a counter-protester punching a protester in the head. Others show a counter-protester brandishing a knife and a man charging into protesters.

Parker County Judge Pat Deen said two people were arrested. Weatherford police did not immediately respond to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's request for comment on Sunday.