AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the second weekend in a row, demonstrators have flocked to the streets of Austin to demand racial equality in the justice system and to protest police brutality.
Austin police rode horseback to try to get the protesters off of I-35.
Protesters began making their way onto I-35 Saturday night, after a day of relatively civil protests. As of 10:15 p.m., I-35 near APD headquarters was shut down.
KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout reported live from the scene, explaining that a brigade of police officers appeared in the area, possibly to address the protesters on the road.
So far, Saturday protests are much quieter than last Saturday’s.
On Saturday evening, crowds were still outside APD headquarters.
A “Praytest” was held in front of the Texas Capitol on Saturday evening, which featured prayer, silence and affirming signs.
The event was organized by Chad Carter and featured over 30 churches joining forces in honor of George Floyd.
“We’ve all watched the destruction and the division and the hate that’s going on in our county,” said Carter. “This is my brother. I don’t care what color he is. I don’t care. That’s my dude. All these voice sticking up, its great, but until we love each other…. until I can look at this dude and love him regardless, nothing is going to get fixed.”
Volunteers showed up downtown to help clean up after a week’s worth of protests.
“After a week of so much turbulence and turmoil in Austin, it’s good to see young people give so much back to the community,” said Zafar Choudhury, of Clean Up ATX.
Clean Up ATX performed clean up and also brought out a table to register voters.
They say over 100 volunteers came out for the event. All money raised will be donated to Black Lives Matter.
On Saturday morning, protesters turned out in front of Austin Police Department headquarters to start the day off. During this event, Austin officers took a knee as an act of solidarity.
Police previously said they would remain kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds, meant to represent the amount of time that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck while detaining him last month.
However, a protester with a megaphone, who was kneeling with officers, brought the display to an end a few minutes early.
It is unclear why officers did not kneel for the full eight minutes and 46 seconds, though some protesters continued to shout at officers during the demonstration.
Protests around the Austin area
Texas Rep. Erin Zweiner attended a Black Lives Matter rally on Saturday afternoon, where she said, “I’m so heartened by all the young folks organizing events in small Texas cities.”
Zweiner said the event was organized by three Black teenagers from Buda and was held along the city’s Main Street across from the Summer Moon Cafe.
Protesters also marched through the streets of Pflugerville, calling for healing and change related to racial injustice.
Pflugerville Police Chief Jessica Robledo tweeted photos of the event, saying in part, “We hear you Pflugerville. Let’s heal as a community and come together for long awaited change.”