Richmond, VA June 19 – 21st 2020: Protesters continue to occupy the Robert E. Lee Statue in Richmond, Virginia as they demand the removal of the giant Confederate General from the monument.
There was little to no police presence at the site, we only witnessed armed officers as they stormed a nearby building to remove an off-duty Airport Police Officer who was armed on the roof and menacing the people below. That individual was taken into custody and later reportedly released.
The protesters have armed security patrolling in case of agitators, and the system for removing bad actors from the crowd is to surround them and guide them away, we witnessed this occur once and the crowd is overwhelmingly non-violent when it takes place, urging and demanding peace and quelling any notion of the opposite. During the day multiple counter protesters , some in MAGA hats and shirts, some flying the American flag, approached the circle, entered it, or rode around it, sometimes taunting those occupying the circle. Many were ignored, some confronted, but all were outnumbered.
At one point, a bicyclist with a MAGA shirt confronted armed protesters, but he was not allowed to enter the occupied zone. Some protesters claimed they were assaulted with paintball by a passing vehicle, but we did not witness that.
After a small planned counter-protest fizzled out quickly, the party resumed and the protesters continued to support their cause.
At night, they projected pictures and videos onto the Monument, playing videos such as Martin Luther King, Jr’s “How long, Not long” speech and an interview with Angela Davis about violence and revolution. “We asked the city to put up a barrier so we won’t have any vehicle issues”, said Anthony Fisher / Ace Santoora. “We illustrate all our emotions on all the platforms” , “just a creative illustration of expression.
What you see is everybody in unison coming together to fight for one cause” he continued. On the second day a new sign was placed in the occupied area reading, “Welcome to beautiful Marcus-David Peters Circle” indicating that the name has been changed.
Video by Oliya Scootercaster and NewYorkVCityPeople (FNTV Freedomnews.tv)
Available for licensing firstname.lastname@example.org