Heavy police presence expected at 'Dallas against White Supremacy' rally

- Dallas police say they will have a large presence at the ‘Dallas against White Supremacy’ event planned for Saturday evening.

Organizers are planning for thousands of people to pack the City Hall Plaza. Police say they'll be closing down roads around city hall.

Police have already placed visible signs of the security measures already out there and are planning to be a whole lot more visible that night.

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway expects it to be safe but says police are ready for anything.

“We are prepared to allow the rights of protests and demonstrations,” he said. “But we are prepared to shut it down.”

Skyler Thiot is the Downtown Residents against Confederate Glorification group. He says he’s not worried. He's one of the speakers for Saturday and plans to bring his young daughter.

“I think here in Dallas we can have disagreements. We can talk about it. We can talk it through,” he said. “And I think people on both sides will keep it civil.”

Reverend Eric Folkerth, who is one of Saturday's speakers, believes now is the time for city leaders to take action.

"Because these monuments, Lee Park and downtown, can become flash points for white supremacists," he said.

Dallas native, Miko Sprunk, says he doesn't have a strong opinion on the issue but stopped by to take some pictures just in case things get out of hand.

"I think what's going to be sad is if people push them over or rip them down," he said. "I'd rather see a place for them because it's history. Just taking down a statue doesn't hide history."

According to event organizers, police plan to have barricades up around the crowd. Dallas police shared little specifics for security reasons. However, they will have help from Garland and Grand Prairie police departments as well as the Department of Public Safety.

“When you look at what's going on across the country, you can see what's going on,” said Dallas Police Asst. Chief Paul Stokes. “So what we need to do is make sure our community is safe and there is no property damage. That's all part of our planning process.”

Police will have an emergency operations center activated. Officers are scanning social media for any signs of counter-protests. They are ready to make a forceful response if needed.

“There are lessons learned in every incident, every planned demonstration,” Stokes said. “So, absolutely, we learn from those events and we can make and adjust our tactics accordingly.”

Organizers are encouraging people to take public transportation since there will not be a lot of parking available around the area Saturday night.

The speeches begin and 7:30 p.m. A vigil is planned at the end for Heather Heyer, the victim in the Charlottesville protests.

The map below shows the streets Dallas police plan to close during the rally.

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