Executive Order temporarily bans protest around Richmond monument

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An executive order by Gov. Terry McAuliffe temporarily bans permits for demonstrations around the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.

8News reporter Aaron Thomas has reactions from people who agree and others who say it bans free speech.

Thomas said that the governor justified the ban on protests by saying that the temporary suspension would allow government officials room to make thoughtful decisions, in hopes of avoiding any civil unrest like that which happened last weekend in Charlottesville.

Ryan Pratt said he agrees with the governor’s decision.

Ryan Pratt said he agrees with the governor’s decision to temporarily ban protest around the Robert E. Lee monument.

“I kind of feel like that’s a good move, you know?” Pratt said. “Just to keep things in order and in control.”

Pratt said the executive order is necessary, considering the violence that happened a week ago.

“Step in and intervene and bring things back down to where they need to be,” Pratt said.

Quan Land, however, said that he thinks protest is a necessary part of Democracy.

Quan Land said that it’s important for people to speak up and voice their opinions.

“We need to stop ignoring some of these laws and sanctions and do what we feel is necessary to make change,” Land said.

Land said he acknowledges the law, but sometimes, it’s important for citizens to take matters into their own hands in order for their viewpoint to be heard.

“It depends on the people, how far they’re willing to go, to see that change happen,” Land said.

McAuliffe said he hopes his executive order prevents threats to public safety while also protecting citizens First Amendment rights.

Close-up view of the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Va.

Regardless, anyone caught with protesting objects, banners or flags in front of the Robert E. Lee Monument is now subject to trespassing charges.

Tonight on 8News at 11, Thomas will speak to an expert about the legality of Gov. McAuliffe’s order.

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