RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham held a press conference Thursday to update the city’s public safety plan ahead of a Confederate monument rally planned for Saturday.
“Let me be clear, we will not tolerate the activity, any activity in our city that promotes or provokes causes of violence against individuals or property or endangers public health or public safety,” said Mayor Stoney.
A Confederate group called CSA II: The New Confederate States of America plan to host a “Heritage not Hate” rally along Richmond's Monument Avenue.
Counter-protesting groups are expected at the rally as well.
“If you don’t have any reason to be Monument Avenue on Saturday, please stay home,” Stoney said emphatically.
Chief Durham said they will have three assembly areas in and around the Lee Monument. There will be specific access points to allow people who want to attend the protest to get near the monument.
But he added that the grassy area around monument will be shut off.
Durham called on people planning to attend the rally to obey the law and treat one another with respect.
Stoney added to those sentiments.
“We expect you to obey the law, because I guarantee you, we will enforce it. If you do not respect our city, law enforcement will lock you up," added Stoney.
Durham said that open carry will be allowed at the rally, but all firearm violations will result in arrests.
“While the law states and allows for the open carrying of a firearms in public, the law does not allow for the threatening or menacing of individuals who are handling such weapons," said Durham. "If any weapon laws are violated, we will be making arrests."
Durham said prohibited items includes, but are not limited to, masks, bats, flag poles, sticks, shields, helmets, caustic substances, or blunt items.
“Any person observed using any type of weapon to inflict injury or serious bodily harm against another, will be arrested,” said Durham.