Sam Houston

Sam Houston

Hundreds of individuals, some armed, gathered at a Houston park Saturday to protest what they believe are efforts to remove a statue of Texas hero Sam Houston because he owned slaves.

There has yet to be any organized effort to remove Houston’s statue, which has stood near a city park since 1925, but the recent removal of four Confederate monuments has raised fears that the trend could spread.

A beloved historical figure to many Texans, Sam Houston was the state’s first US senator and served as governor in the run-up to the Civil War.

Although he was a slaveholder and opposed abolishing slavery, he was the only Southern governor to reject the Confederacy, and was ousted as governor when Texas left the Union.

Saturday’s event was focused on promoting a state bill, HB 1359, that would prohibit the removal of historical memorials or monuments without the permission of the state legislature.

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The event, which drew a motley assortment of patriot groups, historical buffs, and alt-right groups, was initially designed as a counter-protest to a purported Antifa demonstration calling for the removal of the Sam Houston statue.

However the Antifa demonstration announcement was a hoax, the anonymous individuals behind the announcement said shortly before the event.

Sam Houston supporters still turned out in strength. Tensions broke out when one group carrying Confederate flags was shouted down by patriot groups, and separated by police to protest in a separate area.

There were no reports of arrests at the largely peaceful protest.

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