Demonstrators march through Portsmouth protesting latest city controversy


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The political saga in Portsmouth continued Saturday evening in downtown Portsmouth when demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against the corruption in the city.

It all stems from the arrests of 19 people following Confederate monument protests earlier this summer.

Now, a police chief is on paid leave, the city manager has resigned, and the city attorney has been fired. Some community members say the back and forth over the past few weeks show the corruption of leaders in the city.

Just last week, a group of protesters gathered in front of Portsmouth City Hall to support Portsmouth Police Chief Greene and in protest of her suspension.

“We will do this until our feet fall off. We will do this until there is actual real change,” said RJ Brothers, who was leading today’s protest.

It’s the latest in the Confederate monument controversy in Portsmouth.

Earlier this week, Local NAACP leaders attempted to bring charges against city council members Bill Moody and Elizabeth Psimas. The magistrate declined the attempt.

Brothers said the march today down High Street was to bring attention to what they feel is an injustice.

“The corruption is pretty much why we are out here. Standing up for Senator Lucas and the ‘Portsmouth 19’ and everything that has been going on,” said Brothers.

“Specifically for the corruption in Portsmouth — from Bill Moody to John Rowe, to everybody else on the city council. Obviously, there is so much going on with the Confederate monument controversy, the City of Portsmouth is pretty much imploding in itself.”

Brothers said while their purpose in Portsmouth today comes in response to the continuing drama following the protests at the Confederate monument, he wants to know there is always a bigger purpose behind it when they hit the streets.

“It’s important for me to stay on not only Portsmouth — but the whole 757 as a ‘whole.’ All the way to Richmond. All the way to Washington D.C., the nation, and the world,” he said.

Police followed closely today as they made a circle around High Street and ended up back at Portsmouth City Hall. Brothers said they plan to continue protests in the days to come. 

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