AUSTIN (KXAN) — Activists hosted a rally at the Texas Capitol on Saturday in response to controversial new laws passed during the special legislative session.
During the session, a number of Republican-backed bills were passed, most notably Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, and Senate Bill 1 – which Republicans say focuses on election integrity, but Democrats argue restricts voting access.
Various civil rights and social justice organizations urged their supporters to join them at the rally, which started at the State Capitol at 3 p.m.
It focused on several campaigns, such as Texans’ right to abortions, protecting of voting rights, comprehensive bail reform, raising the minimum wage and protecting homeless people.
Announcing the rally, the organizations accused lawmakers of “waging war on the civil liberties of Texans” and described the special session as “the most suppressive legislative session in the past 30 years.”
“History has its eyes upon Texas as they continue to pass legislation that infringes upon the very basic human rights of all Texans, especially women, poor people, and people of color,” said Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition.
“Dan Patrick, Black Texans are not the ones spreading COVID-19,” said Dr. Candance Matthews of Texas Black Democrats. “Texans are dying from COVID because of Republicans’ incompetence and uncaring behavior.”
Voter registration efforts also took place during the rally.