Rumors and intel flew around for days leading up to Saturday, August 1. Dozens of activists were being bused into Austin, Texas, from Portland and Seattle to do to this city what they have done to both of those. Rumors suggested they wanted to destroy Austin police headquarters, the Texas state capitol, or both.
Downtown apartment residents received flyers warning them that the outsiders might attempt to gain entry to their buildings to get to the roof.
Residents of La Vista de Guadalupe, a downtown Austin apartment building, have received a notice from management stating that @Austin_Police have informed them armed protesters may have “plans to get on top of buildings along the I-35 frontage road” during #austinprotests today. pic.twitter.com/GfLv16RVmp
— Gary Faust (@garyrfaust) August 1, 2020
It should go without saying this activity would put numerous innocent people in harm’s way and constitute egregious violations of private property rights. Antifa and BLM activists have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for the latter by destroying, defacing, and looting private property. Protesters surrounding cars, assaulting and shooting drivers and other innocents have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for the former as well.
Protesters also targeted Austin city council member Kathy Tovo with a march on her home because she is the lone member of the council who has not committed to their demand to gut the Austin police budget. Tovo intends to gut it, but not by as much as the protesters demand.
The flyer above and other information suggested the groups intended to attack Austin police headquarters. The headquarters building has been the site of protests and often violent riots over the past two months. The activists have attempted to storm the building in the past but failed.
Saturday’s protest activity was billed as the biggest yet, at least in part due to the shooting of Garrett Foster. Foster was the man who apparently pointed his AK-47 rifle at the car window of driver Daniel Perry while protesters surrounded and pounded on his car during an unpermitted protest and illegal taking of the public street just before 10 p.m. on July 25. Perry, an Army sergeant and licensed handgun carrier, fired his weapon after Foster had used his rifle to order Perry to roll his car window down. Pointing a gun at someone can, obviously, be read as hostile action. Texas’s castle law covers drivers in vehicles defending themselves, including the use of deadly force.
APD and the Texas Department of Public Safety were ready for Saturday’s action, making this post short.
School’s out. pic.twitter.com/uI6PXwIzLp
— Greg Anderson (@WalkableAustin) August 2, 2020
Law enforcement officers were deployed and ready downtown. According to a source familiar with Saturday’s events, no officers were injured. Little force was used in shutting down the protest — which illegally blocked streets and was intended to bring violence to Austin. No property was damaged despite the protesters’ plan. They did take roads illegally, briefly including Interstate 35, the main highway that runs through downtown Austin. Protesters harassed innocent diners and others downtown.
— Bryce Newberry (@Bryce_Newberry) August 2, 2020
Protesters have formed a line and are refusing to let cars pass pic.twitter.com/h56WoTimaY
— Savanah Hernandez (@sav_says_) August 2, 2020
Many of the protesters were carrying rifles. Their illegal blocking of roads prompted the black driver in the top tweet to confront them directly.
‘I’ve got bills! I’ve got kids! Get the f**k out of my way!’ he continues shouting before he makes his way back to his pick-up truck.
They got out of his way, but not before cameras could capture them for identification.
The guy in the black and red shirt is the same guy harassing the folks at the resaurant.
— Mike Street (@1mikestreet1) August 2, 2020
The protesters hopefully learned two lessons.
One: Texas is not Oregon or Washington State.
Two: Don’t mess with Texas.
A few dozen protesters were arrested Saturday night.
They came to Austin for their little vacation, but some will leave at least on probation.