- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2017

Citing the violence that broke out at a white supremacist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is temporarily banning demonstrations at a Richmond monument honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The Virginia governor said the decision comes after police have had to respond to several demonstrations around the Lee monument in Richmond, including “situations that involved heavily-armed protestors that disturbed the peace near the monument.”

“The Governor believes that this suspension is necessary to give state and local officials breathing room to make thoughtful and informed decisions on managing the new reality of the potential for civil unrest,” read a statement from the governor’s office on the executive order.

White supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville last weekend as part of a “pro-white” demonstration to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park. Police broke up the event after brawls erupted between white nationalists and counterprotesters. Hours later a car slammed into a group protesting the rally, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.

Mr. McAuliffe, a Democrat, said the ban on demonstrations at the Monument Avenue statue would be in place as the Department of General Services devises new standards for demonstration permits at the monument. He gave the department until November 18 to promulgate those regulations. The governor said there is currently an absence of “sensible” regulations for demonstrations at the monument, noting that demonstrations of up to 5,000 people are allowed there between sunrise and 11 p.m. under current regulations.

“There are already, and it is anticipated that there will be more, permit requests for demonstrations at the Lee Monument as the public debate over Confederate monuments continues, leaving grave risks for future civil unrest,” Mr. McAuliffe wrote in the temporary executive order. “Until a full review process has been concluded, it is a threat to public safety to allow permit-requiring activity to occur in the absence of such sensible regulations that should be implemented to govern all expressive activity at the Lee Monument, no matter its content.”

The executive order states that during the time the Lee Monument is off limits for demonstrations that there are alternative venues for such activities.

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