Richmond preparing for possible Confederate monument protests

The Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo: WRIC)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Residents and law enforcement officials are preparing for possible protests this weekend along Monument Avenue.

A group called, ‘CSA II: The New Confederate States of America,’ has planned a ‘Protect The General Robert E. Lee Monument Rally,’ for this Saturday, September 16 beginning at 10 a.m.

The rally, which is likely to draw protesters, comes in the wake of last month’s violence in Charlottesville, leaving many Richmond residents concerned about safety.

“I don’t want to see any kind of violence,” said Reverend Jeunée Godsey, who lives on Monument Avenue. “I don’t want to see any kind of hatred or hate speech going on.”

Rev. Godsey has lived on Monument Avenue for five years and said she’s worried about the protest coming to her doorsteps.

“I value free speech,” Godsey said. “But I’m not looking forward to a group of people from outside of our state coming to talk about issues that our city and our state need to deal with.”

The Richmond Police Department has already banned parking around the Robert E. Lee statue, but Godsey said she had planned to move her car anyway to avoid any damage.

“I may choose to be somewhere else that day,” Godsey said. “I am curious about what’s going to happen, I would like to be able to watch but I also don’t want to be a part of the problem.”

Councilwoman Kim Gray said she is encouraging everyone, protestors, counter-protestors and just bystanders to stay home.

“Many times what I have witnessed with these un-permitted unlawful protests is they bring weapons and violence is perpetuated on innocent bystanders,” Kim Gray said. “So I would urge people not to come out to observe or to participate.”

Gray said City Council has left all security decisions to the law enforcement and that Chief Durham promised a plan she could send to her constituents before this weekend.

“For me, it’s important to be able to communicate to the residents what the plan is. What kinds of things they should be looking for? If they see things out of the ordinary who they should call?” Gray said. “We need to be able to get that information out to our residents as quickly as possible.”

The Richmond Police Department said in a statement that they will be prepared for any events if they were to happen this weekend and they will be releasing more information later on this week.

Also, Richmond Police said the no parking zones will be designated starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 to 11 p.m. Saturday for the following areas:

• Monument Avenue between North Lombardy Street and North Meadow Street
• North Allen Avenue between West Grace Street and Park Avenue
• West Grace Street westbound between North Allen Avenue and North Lombardy Street
• West Grace Street east bound between North Allen Avenue and North Meadow Street