Police on alert after Monument Avenue crowds disperse: 'Officers will remain vigilant'

Confederate monument rally in Richmond has police on alert

"We're here to stand up with Virginia residents who requested our assistance here", said Tara Brandau, a CSA II: The New Confederate States of America leader from Florida.

"Virginia public safety officials have been in constant contact with City of Richmond officials as we prepare for the planned protest in the city tomorrow".

Police in Richmond, Virginia, are on alert as several dozen members of a pro-Confederate group are expected to rally Saturday morning in defense of the city's Confederate monuments.

There is no such vote on the table in Richmond, which filled in as the Capital of the Confederacy.

Traffic in parts of Richmond came to a standstill Saturday afternoon as hundreds of people took to the street in protest of the monuments to Richmond's Confederate past. "That's not why we are here", Brandau said. The debate whether to keep historic statues in public places intensified after the August tragedy in Charlottesville, where a "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally and counter-protests resulted in violent clashes. "We came here to help the general population that need to support the landmarks". These statues and what they represent are spurring the same sort of hatred and violence today.

Richmond police are teaming up with police from within the region and State Troopers to prevent what happened in Charlotteville from reoccurring.

"You're causing inconvenience in our city", Lawrence shouted at the gathering. "Have you no sensibility?" The group, New Confederate States of America, are not based in Virginia and said they were asked by Virginians to be at the rally.

Beyond holding an unlawful public rally, they potentially would be violating several state laws against carrying loaded firearms in public areas and brandishing weapons in a manner reasonably meant to intimidate others. This has counter-protesters anxious for their safety.

Any individual who appeared to the rally wearing covers or conveying different weapons would be captured, police said. Protesters who tried to hide their identities with masks would be arrested, no questions asked.

Chief Durham says it's not about taking sides but keeping those who rally and residents safe. "That's the struggle here".

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