The Sept. 16 rally in support of keeping the Confederate soldier statue on the Loudoun County Courthouse historic grounds has been cancelled
Patriot News, which organized the “Save Our History” rally with III% United Patriots, made the announcement on the rally’s Facebook event page. The event had originally been scheduled for Aug. 12 before being moved to its September ddate.
“We are canceling this event for now because it seems like the danger of the statue being removed is small and the point of the historical aspect is being lost,” the statement read. All and all the rally is hurting the cause more than helping it. We reached out to the NAACP and have gotten no response. We wouldn’t let our event get co-opted by racist and we won’t let it get co-opted by the left.”
The Loudoun NAACP chapter had announced plans to hold a counter-demonstration to the “Save Our History” rally. The group has not applied to the Town of Leesburg for a permit to use the Town Green or any other Town-owned public property including public streets, Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burke said in a statement.
The United Patriots have also not applied for a permit to hold a rally on any other date, Burke said.
The announcement comes days after violence in Charlottesville stemmed from a “Unite the Right” rally protesting against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. The violence — and death of a counter-protester — has drawn bipartisan condemnation of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.
“The Town will not issue permits for the use of public property to groups that intend to incite violence or disrupt the peace,” Burke said in a statement. “I would like to assure the public that the Leesburg Police Department is working closely with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police to be prepared to maintain safety and protect the public in the event that an unscheduled rally takes place. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and advise the public as necessary.”
Some cities like Lexington, Kentucky, Gainesville, Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland have taken it upon themselves to remove Confederate monuments, according to national news outlets.
As stated in the Patriot News’ announcement, there is no immediate danger of the Leesburg statue being removed. According to Virginia law, local governments do not have the authority to relocate or remove Confederate monuments without the approval of the Virginia General Assembly.
However, Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) plans to place an item that allows a locality greater discretion over Monuments and Memorials in its individual jurisdiction in Loudoun’s Legislative Agenda this fall. For an item to be placed on the Legislative Agenda it must first be approved by the full Board, she said in a statement.
“For nearly a decade the question of the appropriateness of the Confederate Statue at the Leesburg Courthouse has arisen,” Randall said in a statement. “Following the events in Charlottesville that resulted in the tragic death of three people; I know and appreciate that emotions around these issues are high. This is why it is important to have an open, respectful, inclusive dialogue.”