AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several protests are scheduled in Austin this weekend, a week after protester Garrett Foster died following a shooting on Congress Avenue.
On Friday, both the Austin Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety said they were increasing staffing in the downtown area, in anticipation of the protests.
11 p.m. Saturday
Small groups of protesters dispersed throughout the city. The most organized group gathered at APD headquarters. Texas DPS is also at the scene.
10 p.m. Saturday
Protesters dispersed from the area of 4th and Congress Saturday night. An aerial view of the intersection showed a police line pushing back protesters who were blocking the streets.
9 p.m. Saturday
APD says officers made more arrests near 4th Street and Congress Avenue, the sight of the protest for Garrett Foster, but exact numbers weren’t readily available. The department says people in the area were blocking roadways and causing ‘disturbances.’
8:30 p.m. Saturday
Right now, APD says they have choppers in the air monitoring several demonstrations downtown. Officers have made arrests near 4th Street and Congress Avenue, according to the department. Details about how many arrests have been made and why the protesters were taken in were not immediately available.
Before the protests
Ahead of Saturday’s protests, several letters were sent out to apartment complex residents near Interstate 35.
Emily Alvarado lives at the AMLI East downtown. The letter she received read: “Keep an eye out for anyone looking to get on the roof or balconies.”
“It’s super weird to get that, because I’m coming home from work, and I want to go to sleep. I moved here only a month ago for college,” said Alvarado.
The warning to renters says Austin police informed them of people possibly coming to the buildings.
Protests for Garrett Foster
A protest scheduled for Saturday evening on 4th Street and Congress Avenue is being held in honor of Garrett Foster.
It’s the same place where he was fatally shot a week ago, allegedly by Daniel Perry. Perry’s attorney released a statement on his behalf recounting the shooting from his perspective Thursday night.
Back the Blue and Trump 2020 Rally
From 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday protesters with Back the Blue gathered on the 360 Bridge at Lake Austin.
Supporters could be seen with their cars parked near the bridge, holding American flags and banners for President Donald Trump.
“You can’t blame all cops for what one cop did,” said one Back the Blue protester. “Defunding them is ridiculous, the world would be chaos.”
March to Amplify Black Voices and Defund the Police
More than 100 people gathered at the University of Texas Tower Saturday calling for cuts to APD’s funding.
Discussions about the department’s budget have been taking place since the city’s budget was proposed earlier this month. The city manager’s plan would cut $11.3 million from APD and redirect it to community services.
Protesters met on campus and marched to Austin City Council Member Kathie Tovo’s neighborhood. The group claims she is not proposing cuts to APD’s budget. In a follow-up statement to KXAN on Sunday, Tovo says that the group’s claims are inaccurate, saying the protesters assertions “are extremely misleading.”
A protester on Saturday said:
“Kathie Tovo does not think we need to defund the police in the slightest. I think we need to allocate resources away from APD and put those back into the community for things like healthcare, taking care of our homeless crisis.”
Tovo told KXAN:
“If you look on my City Council Facebook page, you will see that I have indicated my support for several reductions in the police budget that my colleagues have proposed.”
She says the implication that she doesn’t support any reductions is inaccurate.
“As I understand, their reason for the march to my personal residence, it was that I would not publicly commit to at least $100 million dollars in reductions,” Tovo said.
MAGA Drag the Interstate
Supporters of President Trump also formed a caravan on Austin’s highways starting around noon Saturday.
Supporters came from all over Texas to drive a loop around I-35, US 183, Mopac and SH 71 with pro-Trump banners and flags on their vehicles.
The event was scheduled to last until 2:30 p.m. Saturday.