Virginia Supreme Court Reopens After Bomb Threat, City Prepares for ‘Lobby Day’
By Arianna Coghill
January 15, 2021

Virginia Capitol shuts down, roads will close through Monday night.

RICHMOND- All clear. Virginia Capitol Police gave that message just after 2:30 p.m. Friday, after they investigated a bomb threat at the Virginia Supreme Court. While the threat turned out not to be real, it highlighted some of the challenges officials face, both in preparing for Lobby Day and for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Authorities sent out an email and text message about the threat just after 1:15 p.m., evacuating the Supreme Court and surrounding area. People were evacuated and sent to the Pocahontas building. After an hour, K-9 units finished a sweep of the building, located at 100 N. 9th St.. Then officers allowed people back inside.

Police officials say they are still investigating the threat.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Domestic Terrorists Violently Storm Capitol Building

Tensions Running High in Virginia

Unfortunately, tensions were already high in the city of Richmond. This bomb threat has come in nine days after the attack on the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, less than 3 hours away from the city. During the attack, thousands of right-wing terrorists broke into the U.S. Capitol Building, stealing and destroying property in the process.

Brian Sicknick, a 42-year-old Virginia resident and member of the U.S. Capitol Police, died from injuries sustained while defending the Capitol.

The threat also comes three days before the annual “Lobby Day” in Richmond. Officials rejected all permits for demonstrations this year, but the expectation is that both pro and anti gun groups will still show up in different ways. Four groups had their permits rejected. They include Progress Virginia; the New Virginia Majority; the Virginia Center for Public Safety, a group working to reduce gun violence; and the Virginia chapter of Care in Action, a domestic workers operation.

A “gun-rights car parade” is still set to be held in the city Monday.

What is Lobby Day?

In Virginia, each year people can meet with state lawmakers on one day to push for certain projects. This is known as “Lobby Day” and always falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Last year, the Virginia Citizens Defense League organized a 22,000-person gun rights rally, in response to the General Assembly’s plans to expand restrictions on firearms. The VCDL has already said there will be no such rally this year.

However, after what happened Jan. 6 and due to reports of secondary attacks being planned at state capital buildings on Jan. 17, Virginia officials took precautions. In Richmond, the state Capitol Building has been closed, along with several roads downtown. Also, the Virginia National Guard has been placed on standby, to assist as needed.

The city closed down these roads from 6 a.m. on Jan. 17 to 6 p.m. on Jan 18.

  •  9th Street between E. Main Street and E. Broad Street
  •  10th Street between E. Cary Street and Bank Street
  • East Main Street between 14th Street and 9th Street
  • Bank Street between 14th Street and Governor Street
  • Franklin Street between 8th and 9th Streets
  • Franklin Street between 7th and 8th Streets
  • East Grace Street between 8th and 9th  Streets
  •  East Grace Street between 7th and 8th Streets
  • 12th Street between Cary Street and Bank Street
  • Monument Avenue between Meadow Street and Lombardy Street
  •  Allen Avenue between W. Grace Street and Park Avenue

Arianna Coghill is a reporter with Dogwood. You can reach her at [email protected]

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