RICHMOND, Vir. (CBS4)– Protesters defending Confederate statues surrounded a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Vir. on Saturday morning. Counter-protesters also gathered there and far outnumbered the original protesters, forming a crowd of several hundred people.
Organizers planned the “Heritage not Hate” rally to urge the city to keep Lee’s statue where it stands.
Richmond is reevaluating the monument after the violent white nationalist rally in nearby Charlottesville last month that began as a rally to protest the removal of a Confederate statute.
On Saturday, a “Richmond Stands United” Rally countered the pro-Lee Rally by a statue recently dedicated to Maggie Walker, the daughter of a slave who became a newspaper publisher and founder of a bank.
The police presence was heavy Saturday morning contrasting sharply with the law enforcement response in Charlottesville. Authorities closed down streets and blocked them off with dump trucks to prevent a repeat of Charlottesville, when a suspect rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The Richmond rally began peacefully, with chants and name-calling, but no visible altercations. Some protesters toted guns in the open, as Virginia is an open-carry state.
No one has been arrested but one person was removed from the rally. The protesters don’t have a permit.