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.

gettyimages 810958002 Protesters Gather At Confederate Statue Rally In Richmond, Virginia

Members of the Ku Klux Klan arrive for a rally, calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments, in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 2017. (credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

gettyimages 847909116 Protesters Gather At Confederate Statue Rally In Richmond, Virginia

RICHMOND, VA – SEPTEMBER 16: Richmond police keep members of the Tennessee based group “New Confederate State of America” separated from counter protesters September 16, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. The group held a protest in support of retaining the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that is located on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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.


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