Catholics and protesters clash over Louis IX statue

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — Police and prosecutors are investigating an incident that happened during a rally at the King Louis IX statue atop Art Hill in Forest Park. 

For some people, this statute is a symbol of the city’s history. For others, it’s a bastion of their Catholic faith, but for some it has a much darker and more painful meaning.

Both supporters and opponents say there was little dialogue and a turn to violence Saturday.

“We are more than willing to talk about it and the historical implications but sadly there was no dialogue, there was only hatred,” said Conor Martin, a self-described devout Catholic. Martin says he wants to save the statue in Forest Park.

Protest organizers say King Louis IX was an antisemite and an islamophobe and should not have a place of reverence.

“We weren’t doing anything. We were literally peacefully praying the rosary,” Martin explained.

Martin says on Saturday afternoon after other peaceful protesters had left, him and a friend were assaulted. In several videos posted on social media, Martin says you can see the man getting agitated. The man allegedly knocked off Martin’s friends hat, saw his bald head and accused him of being a white supremacist.

The man, Martin says, started hitting his friend so he tried to stop it.

That’s when things got even more heated. Martin says he and his friend were hit several times.

“It was ridiculous, it was hateful, it was disgusting,” Martin said.

Terrence Page is the man in the blue bandanna seen in videos posted on social media of the fight. He says he believes the people there were terrorist groups that needed to be met with force.

“It’s not acceptable, our country as a whole has failed to do it, that’s it,” Page said.

Martin denied any affiliation to a hate group, “That’s false. It’s 100 percent false.”

The organizers of the event said they want change, but not this way.

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