Robert E. Lee statue protest, counter protest this weekend in Richmond

Tomorrow in Richmond police admit they don't know what to expect when a pro-confederate group rallies in the city.

RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- Richmond police are preparing for possible protests on Monument Avenue Saturday.

According to Facebook, Protect The General Robert E. Lee Monument Rally hosted by CSA II: The New Confederate States of America is expected to take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event says 82 people are going, and over 600 people are interested in attending. The details of the event explains this rally is about heritage, not hate.

A counter protest is expected to meet at the Maggie Walker Monument in Richmond.

A Facebook event, Richmond Stands United For Racial Justice Rally! hosted by the First UU Church of Richmond, Richmond Peace Education Center, and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Police, is expected to take place from 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.

According to the event page, 338 people plan on attending the event, and more than 850 people are interested. 

Governor Terry McAuliffe released a statement about the protest:

“Virginia public safety officials have been in constant contact with City of Richmond officials as we prepare for the planned protest in the city tomorrow. Several Virginia agencies, including the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management will be providing resources to the City of Richmond and coordinating with their counterparts in city government throughout the day as we all monitor this event. As city officials have said, everyone has a right to express their views in public, but anyone who violates the law or endangers the safety of others will be arrested and charged.

I urge Virginians who have no reason to be in the vicinity of these protests to steer clear of the parts of Monument Avenue where it will be held so that law enforcement can perform the task of keeping people safe. Many people, including myself, strongly oppose the underlying ideology of tomorrow’s demonstration and the best way to express that opposition is to avoid giving these hateful groups more attention than they deserve.”

According to WRIC, many residents and even city officials are uncertain how the rally will turn out this weekend. Richmond's mayor and police chief agree that the city is prepared to handle any situation.

Richmond wants people to protest peacefully.

Roads are being closed down Friday near the Robert E. Lee statue in preparation for the events. They are not expected to reopen until 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“If people are thinking of showing up this weekend, my advice is this: obey the laws and let us treat one another with respect,” Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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