Could a peaceful week at Virginia’s capitol mean unity is in our future?


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Despite threats of violent protests in the days after an insurrection at the U.S. capitol, Richmond saw a quiet and peaceful inauguration day.

After the U.S. Capitol was stormed, the FBI warned of threats against all 50 state capitols. In Richmond, capitol square was closed. Boards and fencing went up, not only in the square, but also at some nearby businesses. Signs were posted, reminding people that guns are not allowed near several buildings downtown.

Wednesday’s peaceful outcome is what so many had been hoping for.

Earlier in the week, officials worried about Lobby Day, an event that typically brings thousands of gun rights advocates from various parts of the region out to Richmond. In years past, the event has been largely safe. This year, the city saw the same. Hundreds of cars caravanned throughout the city, telling state lawmakers that they don’t want any new gun laws and to repeal ones already in place.

Two days later on inauguration day, sidewalks surrounding the capitol were largely empty. Though capitol police said officers were remaining vigilant throughout the day. No incidents were reported, according to capitol police spokesperson Joe Macenka.

“So far, all quiet,” he told 8News.

Richmonders who were out and about said they hope the successful week means a divided nation is beginning to unite.

“We have been blessed,” said Altemese Robinson. “I work in the city hall and the city hall is very quiet, train station, I mean all up and down broad street [it’s been quiet].”

Only the sound of wind, cars, and construction could be heard by the 8News crews monitoring throughout the day. Many in the city are letting out a sigh of relief as the country’s new president and vice president were safely sworn in.

“I’m glad aint nothing happen,” Lorenzo Snipes told 8News as he waited for his GRTC bus. Robinson echoed Snipes’ sentiments.

“I’m so glad aint none of that stuff happened that happened in Washington the other day,” she said.

As the country begins a new chapter in history, Robinson said it still needs to heal.

“All of us. One for all and all for one,” she said. “We just need to keep that in mind.”

Capitol police said they will remain on high alert. The square will be closed Thursday but is expected to reopen on Friday.

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