A North Texas man who watched last week's violence in Charlottesville organized what he hopes will remain a peaceful rally tonight at Dallas City Hall. He calls it "Dallas against White Supremacy."
The rally started at 7:30 p.m. with an estimated 2,300 people at city hall and a nearby Confederate monument.
Most people chanted and held up signs with messages like "White Supremacy is NOT Welcome in Our City" or "Beautiful Nation of Many Colors." Someone also brought a President Donald Trump effigy to the rally. The word "racist" was crossed out on his chest.
There were a few counter-protestors in the crowd. A more volatile group wearing all black split off from the main rally to march. They chanted things like, "Cops and Klan go hand in hand."
One man waved a Confederate flag and another wearing green was escorted away by police after getting into a confrontation with the anti-white supremacy crowd.
The small group of self-described militia members said they were there to protect the monument rally organizers want removed. They hid their faces and were armed. They said they would protect themselves if necessary.
"All we do is we back up authorities and police officers. We help them to do their job and if we see someone doing something wrong then we will apprehend them and then we will call authorities to come," said a named who uses the nickname Blackjack and says he's with an organization called the Texas Elite Three Percent.
Dallas police are monitoring everything from the emergency operations center, which Dallas officials activated for the night. They have very meticulously placed barricades all across the City Hall plaza both to keep people away from things like the fountains and also to keep some groups apart.
Officers from the Garland and Grand Prairie police departments are helping to keep the peace, as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"The Dallas Police Department is prepared with an operational plan for the rally tonight at the City of Dallas - City Hall. I call on all citizens who plan to exercise their First Amendment right to do so in a civil and peaceful manner. To do otherwise is to forfeit all credibility on a matter of great importance to our city and our country," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
Dallas police said officers are highly visible but will stay on the outskirts of the crowd as long as everything goes smoothly.More