White Lives Matter members gathered to protest outside Houston's Anti-Defamation League headquarters on Saturday, where they were met by a large counter-protest.
According to White Lives Matter, their members feel the Anti-Defamation League has failed to label Black Lives Matter a hate group despite what they call the support and promotion of violence against white people.
"The ADL is an anti-American, anti-white organization," claimed Ken Reed, a leader of the White Lives Matter movement, over his megaphone Saturday afternoon.
Just about forty feet away, Black Lives Matter activists were present to counter-protest. Joining them were members of several other local activist organizations.
"We are here to counter their arguments," said Ashton P. Woods, an organizer of the counter-protest. "[White Lives Matter] can insult us all they want. What remains is they are white supremacist, they are racist, and they need to go."
The counter-protest consistently, and often significantly, outnumbered the White Lives Matter demonstration throughout the afternoon.
The Anti-Defamation League provided us the following statement on Saturday's protest:
"White Lives Matter has the right to demonstrate, but we want to make sure people understand that many of its members also belong to other white supremacists groups and their message is a hateful one. We feel confident the people of Houston will see it for what it is, and reject it."
White Lives Matter garnered harsh criticism this summer after their protest outside Houston's NAACP headquarters for their heavy display of firearms and symbols many pointed to as representative of known hate groups. The group has contended they are an open movement not affiliated with existing organizations. Members at Saturday's event say they have made an effort to change their presentation.
"The symbols obviously shouldn't have been at that rally," said Scott Lacy of White Lives Matter. "I'm sorry, they shouldn't have been, and they aren't here today. You know, it was against my better judgment. I would have had them here."
Saturday's protests were mostly heated words, but otherwise peaceful. At one point, Black Lives Matter protester Gregory Chatman jumped the police barricade separating the two sides.
"They don't deserve to be here," said Chatman, who complied when police escorted him back across the barricade. "People are dying. I take this very seriously. Black people are dying, and it's not ok."
That was the only direct police interaction for the day. At another point, counter-protest organizer Kaelyn Bigg had taken the microphone for Black Lives Matter and spoken of burning an American flag. Instead, she shredded it, telling FOX 26 the fire could have caused issues with police which she wanted to avoid. Police confirmed lighting items on fire in that area could have been grounds for a misdemeanor charge.
The only visible weapon present during the event was a shotgun carried by a White Lives Matter protester, said police. Several counter-protesters were seen disassembling flags from wooden poles upon arrival after being approached by police.
The event was originally scheduled to run until 4 P.M. but wrapped up around 2:30 P.M. when White Lives Matter members chose to disperse.