Hundreds of protesters opposed to Confederate monuments march through Richmond

Photo Courtesy: Richmond Police Department

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One person was arrested after overnight protests in downtown Richmond near VCU and Monument Avenue turned violent.

While 8News was not able to determine who organized the march, groups carrying anti-fascist flags chanted anti-Confederate phrases and demanded that the monuments be removed.

Police said demonstrators marched from the corner of Broad Street and North Laurel Street west toward Lombardy before getting onto Monument Avenue and marching to the Robert E. Lee Monument.

The group then turned around and stopped briefly by the JEB Stuart Statue before getting back on Broad Street.

At one point, a protester carrying an anti-fascist flag climbed the JEB Stuart Statue and put the flag on the monument; the flag has since been removed.

Some protesters became aggressive towards journalists and screamed vulgar language to law enforcement.

8News reporter Tracey Smith says she witnessed a man get hit in the head with a bat. There’s no word yet on how many people were injured.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham says his officers were prepared for the large crowds after seeing what happened in Charlottesville the days before.

One person was killed and dozens mores were injured in those demonstrations.

Durham says Capitol Police, State Police, VSU, VCU and Richmond Police all responded to ensure residents’ safety.

“Unfortunately we saw the incidents that happened in Charlottesville and we don’t want that here in our city — but it’s going to take the support of the residents here in the city and our officers are going to do the very best we can to accommodate folks,” Chief Durham said. “But we want to let them know if you violate the law, you destroy property or cause physical harm to anybody, we’re going to arrest them — we’re not going to tolerate that here.”

Members of the group Americans for Richmond Monument Preservation have requested a permit to hold an event in September at the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond according to state officials.

Dena Potter from the Virginia Department of General Services said that the request is currently under review.

If granted, the group will hold an event at the Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond on Sept. 16.

Norfolk has three Civil War monuments — the Confederate Monument downtown, adjacent to today’s Bank of America building, the memorial dedicated to African-American Civil War Army and Navy veterans that dominates West Point Cemetery adjoining Elmwood Cemetery north of Princess Anne Road and the Confederate memorial in Elmwood Cemetery. 10 On Your Side got a response from the city about discussion regarding changes to the Confederate Memorials. According to Spokeswoman Lori Crouch, “Council discussed the Confederate monuments at the last council retreat and decided to leave them in place. Council is currently on recess. They return on the 22nd.”