Groups Seek To Hold Protest To “Protect” Confederate Monuments In Richmond
Some of the same groups that were behind this weekend’s protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from the town square are now planning on protesting in Virginia’s capital in Richmond:
A Confederate heritage organization has asked the state for permission to gather Sept. 16 at Richmond’s Robert E. Lee monument.
The rally would come roughly a month after Saturday’s white nationalist protest descended into violence in Charlottesville.
The Department of General Services has received a request from Americans for Richmond Monument Preservation for a permit to hold an event at the Lee Monument on Monument Avenue, according to Dena Potter, an agency spokeswoman, who said the application is under review and has not been approved.
Potter said the request was submitted by Bragdon Bowling — a former commander of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Bowling could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office said it could not provide information on Sunday, and Mayor Levar Stoney also declined to comment, referring questions to Capitol Police. Stoney spokesman Jim Nolan said city police and Capitol police will be meeting to discuss the request, but he could not provide further information.
Capitol Police, as a legislative agency, would not be involved unless and until the request is approved by General Services as an executive branch agency.
Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said more information about the status of the permit is expected this week.
According to an online post dated Aug. 7 on a blog listed as being for The Virginia Flaggers, a group called Save Southern Heritage has obtained a permit from Capitol Police to rally at the Lee Monument on Sept. 16. However, that information does not match what the state received, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch was unable to reach anyone associated with that group.
Several monuments in the state capital have become the source of controversy in the years since the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that led to the removal of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s Capitol Building in Columbia as well as other controversies regarding Confederate symbols on public property across the south. Assuming that the request for a permit is granted, and under existing law there are few grounds under which it could legally be declined outright, tensions will obviously be high given what happened just 70 miles away in Charlottesville.