ST. LOUIS — The Circuit Attorney says her office is reviewing weekend events here, when groups clashed Saturday at the base of the Apotheosis of St. Louis statue on Art Hill and armed homeowners greeted protesters as they marched through a private street Sunday.
"I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault," Gardner said in a statement issued Monday. "We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated. My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events. Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable."
On Saturday, Protesters demanding that the statue of King Louis IX be taken down argued with another group who came to pray and sing religious songs in support of the statue of the Catholic saint. Protesters argued that the statue symbolized racism, while Catholics argued the statue's religious meaning is important to the city.
As the protest wound down, someone threw a pink liquid on a man and punches were thrown. No one appeared to have been badly hurt. Police ordered one angry man to leave the scene.
Police said they took a report of assault in the fourth degree where a man said he was slapped in the head several times, but no arrests were made.
On Sunday, a couple pointed guns at hundreds of protesters as they marched through Portland Place, a private street in the city's West End.
At least two groups gathered Saturday at the statue on Art Hill, one calling for the removal of King Louis IX, and the other praying for the saint to stay.
Crusading king of France is "example of an imperfect man," the statement reads, but did much to help the poor and sick.