This is a developing story.
According to a story filed by CBS 6, September’s pro-Confederate demonstration at the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been cancelled. The main organizer of the event, Brag Bowling speaking with WRVA’s Jimmy Barret, announced that he did not want the same kinds of protests in Richmond that broke out in Charlottesville this past weekend.
Bowling spoke with CBS 6, claiming the events at Unite the Right changed his feelings on the event. He did, however, say that he might seek to plan a rally at a later date.
News of the September rally in front of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was first broken by RVA Mag on Sunday, as Virginia was still reeling from the events of Unite the Right. While Bowling admitted to CBS 6 that he did not want “outside elements” to descend upon Richmond, pro-Confederate events have become a beacon for white nationalists, white supremacists, and alt-right groups who use the “heritage” debate as a means of furthering their message.
Unite the Right was originally billed as a pro-Southern heritage event, but was inevitably appropriated by groups such as the Traditionalist Worker Party and National Socialist Movement, along with other various white nationalist personalities, like David Duke, who push ethno-nationalsm and racial superiority. This event ended in a domestic terrorist incident when a white supremacist ran his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person and injured 19.
The contention surrounding the September rally has put the city of Richmond in an unenviable position. RVA Mag reached out to the Department of General Services yesterday to seek clarification on the permit process and received the following statement, “The Department of General Services received a request on July 28, 2017, from Americans for Richmond Monument Preservation for a permit to hold an event at Lee Monument from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on September 16, 2017. The request is under review, and there is no immediate timeline for a decision.” The Department’s Director of Communications concluded with, “As we would with any permit request, we are gathering information about the proposed event, meeting with the applicant to discuss rules and guidelines, and meeting with our law enforcement partners to make sure that the safety of the participants and public property remains the priority.”
This rally would have coincided with Mayor Stoney’s commission on Monument Avenue, and at a time when Southern states are grappling with what to do about public displays of Confederate symbols.
*Cover photo by Landon Shroder