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How Capital Police will enforce order barring demonstrations at Lee Monument

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Capitol Police and Richmond police officers are keeping a close watch on the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue after Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order Friday that temporarily prohibits demonstrations.

McAuliffe’s decision comes just days after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly.

“In the aftermath of this tragedy, several groups have requested permits to hold similar-styled events at the Lee Monument in Richmond,” the governor wrote in a release.

The Lee Monument is the only statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue that is owned and maintained by the state.

McAuliffe said the order will give state and local officials a time to come up with new emergency regulations to manage the potential for civil unrest in the future.

Following the announcement of the executive order, CBS 6 spoke to one of the first demonstrators near the monument to hear about the executive order directly from police.

The officers asked him to stay off the property and let him read the order for himself.

That demonstrator, Jason Villafranca, said he agrees that taking time to pause may be best for right now.

Jason Villafranca

“Sometimes you have to throw down a hammer to simmer tensions and right now there’s a lot of tension flying around," he said.

Capitol Police say their first steps of enforcement during this time will focus on education and asking people who may rally to leave.

If they don't leave, officials say they could be charged with trespassing, a class 1 misdemeanor.

"There’s a lot of rhetoric that is incendiary and some people can take it way to seriously. Unfortunately that might mean the state or city won’t hand out permits to people who want them to protest in groups at a location,” Villafranca added.

For more on what is considered a demonstration, click here.

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