Another protest targeting the Confederate monument on the Cooke County Courthouse lawn in downtown Gainesville is scheduled this weekend.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 25, people are asked to peacefully gather at the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument to protest for its removal, according to a press release from PRO Gainesville, the organization hosting the event.
At 9 p.m., PRO Gainesville will lead a candlelight vigil at the courthouse for the victims of violent crimes in vulnerable populations. Names of some of the victims will be read followed by a moment of silence, the release states. Candles will be provided.
Saturday’s gathering will mark the organization’s third community-wide protest. The last protest July 8 drew roughly 150 people — a mix of protesters and counter-protesters, according to an archived Register report. The July 1 protest drew between 200 and 250 people, Gainesville Police Chief Kevin Phillips previously told the Register. Between 75 and 100 opposed the monument and about 50 were there in support, he estimated. The rest weren’t identifiably affiliated with either position.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott declared that outdoor gatherings must obtain local officials’ approval before proceeding due to the coronavirus pandemic. Days later, Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley declared outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people and less than 100 would be permitted in the county as long as they adhered to safety protocols recommended by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those planning larger gatherings are required to notify the county.
City Manager Barry Sullivan previously said the city and others across the county would be following the same approval protocol as the county. Gatherings in Gainesville expecting more than 100 people “can email us or the county and they’ll pass it to whoever needs it,” he said.
As of Wednesday morning, July 22, neither the city manager’s office nor the Gainesville Police Department had been contacted about a protest, City Secretary Diana Alcala said.
Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley said since it’s in the city limits, permission would need to come from the city of Gainesville.
Saturday’s planned protest will be the first since the Gainesville City Council unanimously voted last week to relocate the more than 100-year-old Confederate statue that stands in Leonard Park, 1000 W. California St. The vote was unanimous.
Donations of sanitation supplies for K-12 classrooms in Gainesville will be accepted during the protest, too.