RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The New Confederate States of America rallied in front of the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue on Saturday.
About a half-dozen members of the New Confederate States, the Tennessee-based group who organized the event, was met by hundreds of counter-protesters, and many of them were just at the Richmond Stands United for Racial Justice rally at the Maggie Walker statue. They were armed with signs and white roses.
"I like it. I like how unified we all are and how few they are. It seems like there are more of us than there are of them."
As the crowd grew, police in riot gear made the decision to escort confederate supporters members from the statue for their safety.
There were moments when tensions were high, but by late morning, the Confederate group was escorted out by police, and the remaining Confederate supporters and counter-protesters sat around and started talking to each other. While there were a few heated exchanges, there was also a lot of thoughtful conversations.
From then on, the shouting and chanting were replaced with peaceful dialogue, like between Richard Mason and Robert Kilpatrick.
"I was open to listening to him, and he was open to listening to me. It's not a point of him being right or me being wrong. The point was we had an open dialogue," said Richard Mason, of Chesterfield.
"It's a beautiful day. There's no reason to have any hostility like in Charlottesville, and thankfully, that's not happening here," said Robert Kilpatrick.
One of the things were heard a lot of the statue supporters and the counter protestors both say is that given what had happened in Charlottesville this summer, they were nervous to come out here on Saturday.
The morning and afternoon were mostly peaceful here at the Lee Monument.
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