Protesters, counter-protesters converge at Confederate …

Protesters defending Confederate statues surrounded a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, Saturday, but counter-protesters far outnumbered them, forming a crowd of several hundred people, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports. 

Organizers planned the “Heritage not Hate” rally to urge the city to keep Lee’s statue where it stands. Richmond is reevaluating the monument after the violent white nationalist rally in nearby Charlottesville last month that began as a rally to protest the removal of a Confederate statute. That day’s deadly events still weigh heavily on the minds of the state’s residents. On Saturday, a “Richmond Stands United” Rally countered the pro-Lee Rally by a statue recently dedicated to Maggie Walker, the daughter of a slave who became a newspaper publisher and founder of a bank. 

A man stands in support of keeping the statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia. 

CBS News / Bo Erickson

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A person looks on at a rally and counter-rally over Confederate monuments in Richmond, Virginia.  

CBS News / Bo Erickson

The police presence was heavy Saturday morning, Reid reports, contrasting sharply with the law enforcement response in Charlottesville. Authorities closed down streets and blocked them off with dump trucks to prevent a repeat of Charlottesville, when a suspect rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. 

The Richmond rally began peacefully, with chants and name-calling, but no visible altercations, according to Reid. Some protesters toted guns in the open, as Virginia is an open-carry state. As of 11:32 a.m., there were no arrests, although one person was removed from the scene, according to the Richmond Police Department. The protesters don’t have a permit. 

This is a developing story. 

CBS News’ Paula Reid, Kathryn Watson and Bo Erickson contributed to this report. 

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