About 300 people gathered at the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond to protest for, or against, the removal of Confederate statues Saturday.
Organizers of Saturday's Confederate landmark rally in Richmond clarified why they went here from out-of-state for the end of the week exhibit.
In foresight of an extensive turnout of rally dissidents, Richmond Police started to closing off bits of Monument Avenue Friday morning.
There are multiple street closures and a large police presence across Richmond today as hundreds of people hit the streets for rallies against supporters of the Confederate monuments in the city.
Police said they are working to get in contact with both sides who plan on attending the rally. After the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer in the Charlottesville event, Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a moratorium on permit rallies around the controversial public monuments. "What we would love for you to do is come up and speak to the heart of your feelings on what is going on here and why you are upset that it's coming to your hometown".
"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. Streets around the statue area are closed. "Have you no sensibility?"
"My suggestion, and don't take this the wrong way, don't show up", Durham answered.
While there would be no police pat-downs at the rally, police said bricks, poles, and other types of weapons will not be allowed.
Beyond holding an unlawful public rally, they potentially would be violating several state laws against carrying loaded firearms in public areas and brandishing weapons in a manner reasonably meant to intimidate others. Protesters who tried to hide their identities with masks would be arrested, no questions asked. 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.