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Video/Pics: VA gun rally attendees pick up trash, leave nothing behind

Crowds gather in opposition to gun control measures proposed by the Virginia state legislature. (Grayson County Sheriffs Office/Facebook)
January 21, 2020

Monday’s Virginia gun rights rally saw something not typically seen at many large political rallies and protests — its attendees picking up their own trash afterward.

The gun-rights rally on Capitol Square in Richmond saw an estimated 22,000 attendees, and save for a single arrest due to someone violating mask laws, the political rally went on without any major confrontations. As the rally came to a close, videos circulated around social media of those attendees even gathering up their own trash before they left.

Volunteers among the rally attendees could be seen carrying trash bags to gather trash left in the streets.

Some attendees could also be seen using pocket knives to scrape pro-gun stickers left stuck on the streets around Capitol Square.

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One attendee reportedly said “We aren’t here to trash Richmond. It’s a beautiful city and we want to keep it that way.”

The gun-rights rally was a protest planned in response to new gun laws being proposed in the Virginia state legislature.

In the days prior to the rally, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and warned of extremists potentially planning violent attacks during the protests.

The FBI did arrest members of a white supremacist group ahead of the rally, though it was not confirmed by the Department of Justice whether those arrested planned to attend the rally in Richmond.

Security fencing was placed around the Capitol and police did check those attendees attempting to participate in the rally on the hill. An estimated 6,000 attendees took part in the rally on Capitol Square, while another 16,000 remained outside the fenced perimeter, where they could rally while many continued to openly carry their firearms.

Sheriffs from various Virginia counties were also seen participating in the pro-gun rally.

After the rally, Northam tweeted congratulations to the security teams that “successfully de-escalated what could have been a volatile situation,” and acknowledged the mass event was “without incident.”