Hours after a march against police brutality brought out tens of thousands of protesters to downtown Houston, hundreds of demonstrators who continued to peacefully protest into the evening were arrested or forcibly dispersed by Houston police.
Social media footage and news reports from Tuesday show that around 7:00 p.m. — with no citywide curfew — police began ordering protesters to leave downtown and began to arrest protesters shortly after.
As police moved in, protesters were forced to leave Discovery Green park, the area many had gathered in after the march.
At one point, several dozen protesters refused to leave a vacant lot and formed a human circle as they were surrounded by police, according to ABC 13. On social media, multiple protesters said they jumped the fence into the lot because they were chased by police.
Close by, Jay Jordan, a Houston Chronicle crime reporter, said he and several protesters were pushed into a metal fence until it toppled while a Houston Police Department official yelled at his officers to “calm down.”
By early Wednesday, Houston Police said more than 200 arrests were made “of individuals engaged in criminal conduct, including throwing rocks and bottles at officers.”
“This is an extremely low number of arrests considering the thousands of people in our community who marched and demonstrated peacefully today,” said Houston Police.
Authorities said no injuries or property damage were reported.
The series of mass arrests comes as two separate investigations by local news channels, KPRC-TV and KHOU 11, found that the vast majority of people arrested over the weekend were charged with obstructing roadways. The same KHOU 11 report also found that an overwhelming majority of arrestees were native Houstonians — a starkly different picture than the one presented by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner, who both blamed outside agitators for the weekend unrest. If the details of those arrests hold true, it would mean protesters engaged in civil disobedience, not vandalism or looting, have been the largest focus of local police as demonstrations against police brutality continue.
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