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Virginia National Guard on Standby for Unite the Right Rally

Posted: Updated: Aug 11, 2017 03:39 PM
Virginia National Guard building on Avon Street Virginia National Guard building on Avon Street
Virginia National Guard building on Avon Street Virginia National Guard building on Avon Street
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

The Virginia National Guard is on standby, and will be following the lead of Charlottesville police for Saturday's Unite the Right rally.

The National Guard is coordinating with state and local government to possibly step in during the rally in support of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in downtown Charlottesville.

The Charlottesville Police Department will be taking the lead with security and safety precautions, which could see as many as 6,000 people crowd around the park.

IiIn a statement, Governor Terry McAuliffe said, "I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans. Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville tomorrow are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent. As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right."

In case the National Guard does need to step in, they will be in charge of providing safe movement for people, and assisting in the safety and security of attendees and officers.

08/11/2017 Statement from Governor Terry McAuliffe:

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe released the following statement on the planned rally in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, August 12th:

“This morning, I was briefed for the second time this week by public safety officials in my cabinet, the Virginia State Police, the National Guard, and the Department of Emergency Management on their preparations for tomorrow’s rally in Charlottesville. I have directed them to coordinate with federal and local authorities and take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of their personnel, the Charlottesville community and rally attendees. Virginia State Police is leading the commonwealth’s planning and response for these events and will be on the scene in a support capacity before, during and after the planned rally. At my direction, personnel from the Virginia National Guard are also standing by to respond if needed.

“Virginia is the birthplace of the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly that make our country great. I expect that most of the individuals who participate in tomorrow’s events will honor that proud legacy by expressing their views safely and respectfully. However, in advance of tomorrow’s rally there have been communications from extremist groups, many of which are located outside of Virginia, who may seek to commit acts of violence against rally participants or law enforcement officials. In the event that such violent or unlawful conduct occurs, I have instructed state public safety officials to act quickly and decisively in order to keep the public and themselves safe.

“Finally, as we prepare for tomorrow’s events, I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans. Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville tomorrow are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent. As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right. But it is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve. Men and women from state and local agencies will be in Charlottesville tomorrow to keep the public safe, and their job will be made easier if Virginians, no matter how well-meaning, elect to stay away from the areas where this rally will take place.”