Guns, large crowds banned from rallies at Lee memorial in Richmond

Guns, large crowds banned from rallies at Lee memorial in Richmond
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Virginia officials have lifted a temporary ban on political demonstrations at a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the state's capital of Richmond, but put in place emergency rules to obtain a permit to protest.

The new regulations lower the limit on crowd sizes to 500 and require permits for rallies that are expected to exceed 10 people, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Demonstrations will be restricted to certain hours, and weapons are prohibited. 

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) first signed an executive order temporarily halting demonstrations at the monument in August after one person was killed in the violent Charlottesville white supremacist demonstrations that month. 

"State and local officials need to get ahead of this problem, so that we have the proper legal protections in place to allow for peaceful demonstrations, but without putting citizens and property at risk," McAuliffe said in a statement. 

"Let me be clear, this executive order has nothing to do with infringing upon first amendment rights. This is a temporary suspension, issued with the singular purpose of creating failsafe regulations to preserve the health and well-being of our citizens and ensuring that nothing like what occurred in Charlottesville happens again," he continued. 

Whether Confederate statues should be removed from public land was among the most high-profile issues in Virginia's off-year gubernatorial election. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) supports efforts to take down the monuments.