School walkout, march to Capitol planned for Friday

The event is in conjunction with the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School....
The event is in conjunction with the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. (Source: Never Again Richmond)
Published: Apr. 16, 2018 at 12:56 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 at 5:04 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Another anti-gun violence school walkout is planned for Friday, and this one will include a rally at the Virginia State Capitol.

Unlike the early walkouts across the country March 14 that were for 17 minutes to honor those killed in the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, the protest Friday will be an hours-long event in conjunction with the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School.

The protest will begin at 10 a.m. with a school walkout to honor the Columbine victims. Then starting at noon a march will take place from Brown's Island to the Capitol.

Police are expecting a crowd of about 10,000 people to participate, and are asking people who are normally in that area during the day to be patient and plan ahead due to the rally.

Traffic is expected to be impacted at several points, and police are advising those coming from outside the city to take certain routes to ensure their safety.

Richmond police will escort the march from Brown's Island on Seventh Street and Grace Street to the Capitol Square.

Several roads will be temporarily closed in the area of Tredegar Street and North 7th Street.

Limited "no parking" areas will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on North 7th Street and East Grace Street between North 7th and North 9th streets.

"In the interest of public safety, we ask members of the community to please exercise patience, pre-plan accordingly, and avoid this area if possible," said Richmond Police Capt. John O'Kleasky. "We are also asking attendees to only park in lawful parking areas and to utilize sidewalks while heading to Brown's Island and upon their departure from the Capitol grounds."

The walkout movement began when students called for stronger gun legislation. It was organized on social media and through a national campaign to support protests around the country.

The March 14 walkout was the first such event, and it was followed by the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC, two weeks later. Hundreds of other marches were held in other cities at the same time.

According to a press release, the march from Brown's Island will include a voter registration drive and a chance to speak with lawmakers.

Those expected to participate include Gov. Ralph Northam and Delegate Christ Hurst, whose TV reporter girlfriend Alison Parker was a victim of gun violence.

Other rallies were held by those on both sides of the debate over the weekend. An anti-gun violence rally was held at a church in Petersburg, and a pro-gun rights rally was held at the Virginia State Capitol.

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