CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Dueling rallies met Tuesday evening in front of Charlottesville City Hall over the future of the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park.
Both rallies were held just hours before the city council's second meeting in February.
One rally was lead by Republican gubernatorial candidate Corery Stewart, who is protesting city council's decision to move the statue.
His supporters say the statue is a part of Virginia history and should not be taken down.
The other rally was lead by Author David Swanson, who is supporting city council's decision to take down the statue.
His supporters say the statue is offensive.
"There are people demanding that Charlottesville not remove such a statue, which to me and many of us is a painful symbol of segregation and slavery and war," explained Swanson.
"I call it vandalism," countered Ashleigh Woody, protesting to keep the statue where it is. "ISIS does this in the Middle East. They destroy things that they don't like and that's what they are doing here [in Charlottesville]."
Tensions were high in front of City Hall. During the rally, the Charlottesville Police Department increased its presence around the perimeter in case things got out of hand.