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RICHMOND, Va. ― Thousands of pro-gun protesters, along with extremist factions from all over the country, crowded in and around Capitol Square on Monday for a pro-gun rally that for weeks has stoked fears of violence that reached the highest levels of Virginia government.
Three neo-Nazis associated with a violent white supremacist group called The Base were arrested last week after allegedly discussing plans to travel to the rally and open fire from different positions in order to cause chaos. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a temporary emergency, banning all guns from Capitol Square for the event and saying there was “credible intelligence” that there may be violence.
Protesters of various gun control proposals in Virginia, some of whom were armed, gathered around the square as early as 5 a.m. Monday. Police enforced the no-gun policy on the Capitol grounds by erecting a security checkpoint so protesters would enter and leave through one space. But that didn’t stop other armed people from lining up in formation outside, and roaming downtown Richmond with guns on full display.
“This is peaceful civil disobedience,” said one armed protester named Michael, who declined to give his last name. “We’re not here for a fight, but we’re ready if need be.”
I’m in Richmond for today’s gun rally. Will be updating throughout the day. Stay safe everybody. pic.twitter.com/SzmhraTW8E
I’m in Richmond for today’s gun rally. Will be updating throughout the day. Stay safe everybody. pic.twitter.com/SzmhraTW8E— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) January 20, 2020
Thousands at Capitol, lines still long to get in pic.twitter.com/OItFyWfoR8— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) January 20, 2020
What is so striking about the scene at the gun rights rally in Richmond is what you don’t see: almost no cops. Just that little cluster of state police there. No lines of riot cops. No law enforcement in riot gear. pic.twitter.com/W0jkwYmmkP— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) January 20, 2020
And here I see my first RWDS (Right Wing Death Squad) patch of the day. pic.twitter.com/dv59VCdtUz— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) January 20, 2020
The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
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