Pictures have started coming in of the protesters arriving at the capitol. I especially like the one of fencing that Northam had erected that says: "The wall the Northam built."As expected, the main stream media is trying to put a different face on events. For instances, the Associated Press (via The Truth About Guns) is reporting:
* * *The crowds are chanting "Northam OUT!"
* * *There is a petition to recall Northam. As you can see, it's a popular destination.
* * *And it wouldn't be a great protest without Alex Jones in a tank with a megaphone.
Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of the rally, banning all weapons, including guns, from the event on Capitol Square. The expected arrival of thousands of gun-rights activists — along with members of militia groups and white supremacists — raised fears the state could again see the type of violence that exploded in Charlottesville in 2017.
The Virginia State Police, the Virginia Capitol Police and the Richmond Police planned a huge police presence with both uniformed and plainclothes officers. Police limited access to Capitol Square to only one entrance and have warned rally-goers they may have to wait hours to get past security screening. Authorities started letting people in at the sole public entrance just before 7:30 a.m.
The New York Post has put mostly a neutral spin on the story by noting in their lede that the rally is being attended by "[t]housands of gun activists from across the country ... to protest proposed gun control legislation by the Democratic governor and legislature that they contend would violate their Second Amendment rights."
Other outlets have more fully adopted the Leftist talking points. For instance, the Daily Mail breathlessly proclaims in its headline that "Heavily armed protesters in bullet proof vests descend on Richmond gun rally as Virginia governor declares a state of emergency and hundreds line up with their weapons to stand against Democrats' proposed reform." The article goes on to claim:
The BBC begins with an innocuous sounding headline--"Virginia gun rally: Authorities gear up for unrest in Richmond"--but then goes on to state:
In the last week, six people with alleged links to neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups have been arrested in connection with it and the FBI is fervently sniffing out any threats of violence.
There are fears it could descend into a violent event like the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville which claimed the life of a counter-protester.
Later, the article reads:
Pro-gun campaigners are gathering in the US city of Richmond for a rally that the Virginia authorities fear could turn violent.
State governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of the protest, banning firearms from the area around the Capitol building.
The Lobby Day rally is an annual event, but several gun-control bills passed in January by the Democrat-led Virginia legislature - in a state where gun rights have historically been permissive - have angered gun owners and activists.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group which organised the rally, said it expected as many as 50,000 people. Many of the buses laid on from neighbouring states were sold out before the weekend.
Various groups including armed militia, right-wing extremists and local Antifa, or anti-fascist movement, were expected to attend.
Megan Squires, an expert in online extremism from the University of North Carolina, said the open talk of inciting violence in extremist online chat groups had suddenly quietened down in the wake of the FBI arrests.
"In December, when this event was announced, those types of groups were very excited about this event - calling it the boogaloo and saying it was going to kick off the race war," she said.
"But about 48 hours ago the tenor in those Telegram groups shifted considerably, and I think that's because of the seven arrests."
The event has been compared to the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, where a 32-year-old counter protester was killed by a rally goer and violent clashes broke out around the city.
The city of Richmond, Va., is under a state of emergency Monday morning as thousands of gun ownership enthusiasts and armed militia members gather at the Virginia State Capitol for a large rally aimed at quashing new gun laws. Gov. Ralph Northam has temporarily banned firearms from Capitol grounds, and some of Richmond's streets are barricaded as officials try to ensure the demonstration takes place peacefully.
The Baltimore Sun's article this morning stated:
Thousands of protesters descended on Virginia’s Capitol on Monday to protest proposed changes to state gun laws, many of them heavily armed to show their support for the Second Amendment.
Gov. Ralph Northam had placed Richmond under a state of emergency, saying the annual lobby day and rally has drawn the attention of militia and out-of-state groups who have come to “intimidate” and “cause harm."
The unusually large crowds come after Democrats won majorities in the House and Senate. Gun control measures that have for years been quashed by Republicans — implementing universal background checks, limiting sales to one handgun a month, allowing localities to ban guns in certain places and creating an extreme risk protection order — were passed out of a packed Senate Judiciary Committee meeting last week.
Northam said intelligence officials had received “credible, serious threats” of violence comparable to those targeted towards Charlottesville, where in 2017 neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed with counter protesters and a woman was killed.
Northam banned weapons from statehouse grounds, and anyone who wanted to be on Capitol Square had to pass through magnetometers and have their bags searched, causing lengthy lines. Many protesters wore orange stickers saying “Guns save lives.”
Outside a temporary fence erected on Capitol Square, other protesters openly carried assault-style weapons on sidewalks and nearby streets that had been closed to traffic.