City officials in Richmond, Virginia, admit violence from left-wing “anti-fascists” counterprotesters is their biggest concern at a pro-Confederate monument rally taking place Saturday.
Speaking to a neighborhood organization Tuesday, Councilwoman Kim Gray stated she was worried the violent alt-left group of anarchists known as “Antifa” could harm innocent citizens.
“I’m really concerned about the actions of the Antifa group,” Grey claimed, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Grey went on to describe the violence Antifa has carried out in the past.
“They beat people with bats,” she pointed out, adding residents should think twice before joining the protests. “This is why we are urging people to stay home and not travel outside.”
The Dispatch also recounted the Antifa beating of a WTVR journalist in August:
The day after the Charlottesville rally, a group marched through Richmond and, at one point, attacked a WTVR television journalist, hitting him with a stick in the back of the head. His scalp was stapled together at a hospital. According to accounts published by WTVR, the protesters who attacked the reporter objected to his filming their march.
In attempts to avoid the commotion that occurred in Charlottesville last month, police have announced they will not permit objects that “intimidate,” such as bricks or bats, but are upholding the right to bear arms in accordance with state law.
“In order to safeguard the First Amendment rights of all citizens to express themselves, regardless of their viewpoints, it is necessary during this event to prevent the display, or brandishing of any type of objects that could be used to intimidate others whether it be baseball bats, bricks or anything else.”
Addressing a woman’s question about permitting guns at the rally, Durham advised steering clear was the best way to stay safe.
“The same fear you have is the same fear my officers have. The only thing I can say is, don’t show up and you don’t have to worry about being shot,” Durham said.
A Black Lives Matter group from New York is also expected to lead a counterprotest, in addition to a “RVA Stands United Rally and March” that will also take place.
Out-of-state organizers of the “Protect the General Robert E. Lee Monument Rally,” set to take place Saturday on Monument Avenue, say they’re unsure how many people will attend.
Antifa activists in the past have claimed that violence against people they claim are “nazis” is justified.
The group’s activities were formally labeled “domestic terrorist violence” in confidential documents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security published by Politico earlier this month.