Lee Monument rally is a public safety concern - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Lee Monument rally is a public safety concern

Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue (Source: NBC12) Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue (Source: NBC12)

Richmond Police are gearing up for what could be a chaotic weekend on Monument Avenue. A group from Tennessee that calls itself the "New Confederate State of America" says the rally to protect the Robert E Lee monument is still on.

The event was updated recently to confirm it's not canceled, even though a permit wasn't obtained. Richmond Police have been preparing for this since the chaos in Charlottesville and will provide updates this week.

Police are preparing for it, as are the people who live along this beautiful stretch of the city.

Charlie Diradour lives on Monument Ave and said, "I'm hearing from a lot of my neighbors and most of are, honestly, angry."

The Virginia Flaggers filed a permit to hold a rally at the Lee Monument this coming Saturday but withdrew the request because of how violent the rally in Charlottesville became.  Now, a group from Tennessee is planning a rally, regardless of city permission from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. this Saturday.

"It's very important for everybody to understand, that's coming here. We believe in our chief, and we believe in the government that's installed here.  These folks are doing all these things in our interest and the people's interests," Diradour said.

Michelle Wright lives just off of Monument Avenue and said she’s seen posts on social media that counter protestors are ready for Saturday too. She said that only adds to the tension and makes it more difficult for police.

"We saw in Charlottesville, that got out of hand very quickly.  We need to make sure that Richmond steps up to the game and makes sure that people are protected in the area," said Wright.

Richmond Police have said they're bringing in officers from all over the state to help, just in case it's needed.

"We're a nation of laws. We're a state of laws. We're a city of laws and we're going to, obviously, honor your right to say what you want to say.  But if you're coming here to spread hate, if you're coming here to spread violence, just don't come.  Don't come.  You're not welcome here,” Diradour warned.

The Monument Avenue Commission is tasked with listening to public input about the monuments and advise the city what to do about them. The Commission had a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday but postponed it due to a public safety concern.

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