RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order Friday that prohibits demonstrations at Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument.
McAuliffe said the order is in place until new emergency regulations have been approved and implemented by the Virginia Department of General Services.
The decision comes after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville turned violent, resulting in the death of a Heather Heyer and at least 30 other people being hurt. Two state troopers died in a helicopter crash in connection the rally.
McAuliffe said the decision will give state and local officials time to make informed decisions to protect public safety and manage “the new reality of the potential for civil unrest.”
“In spite of weeks of preparation, the city of Charlottesville was the target of an act of domestic terrorism that cost one woman her life, and had a helicopter accident lead to the deaths of two state troopers,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In the aftermath of this tragedy, several groups have requested permits to hold similar-styled events at the Lee Monument in Richmond. State and local officials need to get ahead of this problem, so that we have the proper legal protections in place to allow for peaceful demonstrations, but without putting citizens and property at risk. Let me be clear, this executive order has nothing to do with infringing upon first amendment rights. This is a temporary suspension, issued with the singular purpose of creating failsafe regulations to preserve the health and well-being of our citizens and ensuring that nothing like what occurred in Charlottesville happens again.”
Demonstrations prohibited will include:
The term “demonstrations” includes demonstrations, processions, picketing, speechmaking, marching, vigils, and all other like forms of conduct, that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.
The order is effective immediately until new emergency regulations have been approved by November 18, 2017.
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