MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - County commissioners met on Friday in an emergency meeting to address public safety in preparation for upcoming protests over a Confederate memorial currently located on the grounds of the county courthouse.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the commissioners rejected the idea of removing the memorial, voting instead to place a cover over it in order to protect the memorial from vandalism.

Commissioners debated whether the memorial should be removed, but the motion was ultimately rejected.

The Manatee chapter of Black Lives Matter, along with the Rodney Mitchell Foundation, Indivisible Bradenton Pro-gressive, Answer Suncoast and Action Together have a "peaceful protest" scheduled at 6:30 pm on Monday at the memorial.

A counter-protest is scheduled for the same time by a America First-Team Manatee, which is a grassroots group that supports President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda.

Commissioner Betsy Benac called the emergency meeting in order for the commission to consider safety and security in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.

"We want our citizens and employees to be safe," Benac said.

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