Rumors are circulating that groups associated with Antifa may be protesting in Austin, Texas on Saturday night, August 1, possibly targeting the Austin Police Department or local residential buildings downtown. Meanwhile, a group planning a protest to defund the police on Saturday night has said that they are not planning any violence, and some people on social media have said they’ve seen armed conservative groups in the region, too. The Austin Police Department has said it’s aware of rumors and is increasing staffing just in case. (The photo above is from a protest in Austin on July 26.)
The Antifa rumors are circulating after Garrett Foster was shot and killed at an Austin protest last Saturday night, July 25. To see videos of what is happening tonight, please see Heavy’s story here.
Here’s what you need to know.
Rumors Are Circulating About ‘Antifa’ Planning a Protest & One Apartment Complex Claimed They Would Be ‘Scaling Buildings’
Rumors about “armed Antifa” “scaling buildings” are circulating on social media sites, claiming that protesters are going to try to start a new “CHOP” (autonomous zone) in Austin. The Austin Police Department has only said that it’s aware of the rumors and will be working this weekend to keep everything peaceful.
On Friday night, July 31, Austin local Tyson Eberly shared a post on Faceook about “unconfirmed reports” that Antifa was busing in “rioters.” This is one example of the messages that are circulating. He wrote: “Getting ￼ unconfirmed reports of Antifa rioters bussed into Austin today. Might consider boarding up your business. As our city burns, mayor Adler won’t do a damn thing to stop it.”
This is similar to a lot of the rumors circulating, which are claiming that people are being “bused” into the city. However, there has been no official confirmation to the busing rumors.
One person responded to Eberly’s post, writing: “Please stop spreading lies. This is the kind of inflammatory bs that gets us killed. I was there when Garrett Foster was murdered. This is not a game or a joke. We have every right to march in these streets and some protesters exercise their 2nd amendment right while doing so. Please take this post down.”
On Reddit, u/jesshlolz posted on Friday night that they received an email from their building’s management company, The Tyndall, warning that armed protesters might be planning to scale buildings in downtown Austin over the weekend.
Here is a screenshot of the email they shared:
The letter claims that The Tyndall Residents’ Facebook page was sharing information about the protests, and that the Austin Police Department “provided timely intelligence today about demonstrations reportedly planned for this weekend in downtown Austin.”
The letter goes on to say: “It was reported that demonstrating groups plan to scale five buildings that face downtown sometime on Saturday. The supposed goal of the protestors is to view the demonstrations from these rooftops. We were told to anticipate these individuals being armed. APD’s intelligence is that The Tyndall is one of the buildings on this list. The accuracy of this information cannot be known at this point…”
A similar message with the logo GNDC at the top, reportedly from the La Vista de Guadalupe, is being shared on Facebook, with some escalating the rumor to include “Antifa snipers.”
Austin American Statesman reported that mid- and high-rise properties in downtown Austin were warning residents about tonight and telling them to call 911 if they see anything suspicious. The Statesman said that buildings included in the warning were the Tyndall at Robertson Hill, AMLI Eastside, Eleven, and La Vista de Guadalupe.
KVUE also reported that the Texas DPS had received reports of people planning to disrupt peaceful protests in Austin this weekend.
The Austin Police Said They Are Aware of Rumors
The Austin Police Department has not said anything publicly on social media about the rumors to confirm or deny them. Their last post on Saturday as of the time of publication was about the hot temperatures in the city. However, they have told local media that they are aware of the rumors. KXAN reported that the Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety are increasing their staffing this weekend and are aware of the rumors.
The APD shared a statement with KXAN, noting that they were aware of the rumors and said:
We are bringing in the necessary staff, and have partnered with other local law enforcement agencies as we have done throughout the past few months, to allow for those peacefully and lawfully practicing their first amendment rights while also working to prevent any violence or destruction of property.”
The DPS also shared the following statement with KXAN:
DPS supports the right of individuals to lawfully protest, and public safety is our top priority. Therefore, DPS will be increasing our presence this weekend, along with our local law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety needs are met and to combat any potential criminal activity.”
A Peaceful ‘March to Amplify Black Voices’ for Tonight Said That Rumors Are Mistakenly Claiming They Are Planning Violence
One rumor that is confirmed accurate is that there will be a “March to Amplify Black Voices and Defund the Police” in Austin, Texas on Saturday night. This march starts at 7:30 p.m. and lasts until 10:30 p.m. You can see see the event page here. The description for the march reads:
Join us in a march to amplify Black Austin voices and demand the defunding of the Austin Police Department. The city will vote on its budget in August and council member Kathie Tovo is currently proposing no cuts to APD’s budget. This is insubstantial in the face of Austin Justice Collation’s demand of a 100 million dollar cut Communities of Color’s demand of a 200 million dollar cut let alone the damage that the APD has inflicted on this city.
We will meet on the University of Texas campus and march to Tovo’s neighborhood with drums, chalk and speakers to let the city know our demands must be met. Water and masks will be provided, masks are mandatory and we will keep safe social distancing practices in place. Join us in amplifying the voices of black and brown Austinites and make sure our city leaders are held accountable to the people they serve, not the police.
The march begins at the UT Austin Tower and then will proceed to Council Member Kathie Tovo’s neighborhood. The march requires masks and social distancing of the participants. A pinned post on the page notes concern about violence from Trump supporters.
Another post on the page notes that the event is not 2A friendly because of concern that people will be hurt if they open carry. They note that another protest happening in downtown Austin tonight by the Mike Ramos Brigade is 2A friendly.
The event page also directly addressed the rumors of violence, writing: “Unfortunately, it appears that right-wingers in Texas are convinced that our march is BLM busing in anarchists to take over Austin. It appears that some of them may come out to confront us, so please factor that in your decision if you want to come in terms of safety. In good news, according to them we are all getting paid by Soros so first round of drinks is on us when I get that Soros Stimulus.”
The post was shared by the North North University Mutual Aid Society. The March to Amplify Black Voices has another post by the same group pinned on its discussion page.
Photos Are Also Circulating Showing ‘Armed’ Conservative Groups
At the same time, some armed conservative groups have also been reported in the Austin area today, according to social media posts. The Facebook group “Come and Talk It” shared a photo of an armed group beneath I-35 near the Austin Police Department headquarters.
On Reddit, some people also shared seeing people carrying what looked like rifles and bulletproof vests in the Austin region, but it wasn’t clear what groups they were associated with.
Later, another Redditor shared photos of the armed protestors at the Statesman parking lot, which you can see in the embedded post below.
Earlier today, a peaceful group of pro-Trump protesters formed a caravan on Austin highways to show their support for President Donald Trump, KXAN reported. The “MAGA Drag the Interstate” event started at 12 p.m. and included a caravan driving on I-35, 183, Mopac, and SH 71.
The Mike Ramos Brigade Is Also Planning a Protest Tonight in Downtown Austin
The Mike Ramos Brigade is also planning a protest on Saturday night, which the “March to Amplify Black Voices and Defund the Police” said was 2A friendly. You can see the event page here. The event is in downtown Austin at 4th and Congress, where Garrett Foster was shot and killed. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. and it’s called “Fight for Garrett and Brad! Protest Enemies of the People!”
This event’s description reads:
Tribune of the People has exposed Garrett Foster’s killer, Sergeant Daniel Scott Perry. This disgusting racist scum came back out to Garrett’s vigil, the very spot where he drove into protesters and killed Garrett, to threaten and intimidate protesters. After the story was exposed, Perry’s lawyer admitted to his client’s murder and claimed it was self-defense, also noting that Perry feels sympathy for our comrade’s family. The audacity is enraging!!!!!
Fresh blood was on APD’s hands, and they still let this killer go untouched, just like how they protect Mike Ramos’ killers AND Brad Ayala’s shooter, Nicholas Gebhart. In 2018, Nicholas was ALSO involved in the murder of 23-year-old Thomas Vincent Alvarez.
The racist institution of police both employs killers and protects them! Without the hard work of Tribune of the People and the instagram @justice4ayala, these enemies of the people would remain anonymous. We know APD would protect them as long as possible, and that is why we have no faith in a justice system that uses them as bodyguards.
The imperialist system mandates violence on Black, Chicano, immigrant and working class communities from every direction. We must fight for people’s justice, and work to tear down this violent system! Come out and protest these enemies of the people!
In a later post, the group said this was also a memorial.
If you want to stay updated on what happens tonight, Hiram Gilberto often goes to downtown Austin and provides live-streamed videos on the ground. His Facebook page is here.