Peaceful events, heavy security mark Charlottesville rally anniversary

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One year after the tragic Charlottesville march, more than 200 protestors planned a rally on Saturday evening amidst peaceful vigils at the University of Virginia to mark the anniversary of the confrontation between tiki torch-toting white nationalists and counter-protestors.

The rally is timed for the one-year anniversary of the first Unite the Right in Charlottesville, Virginia, which devolved into chaos and violence resulting in the death of a counter-protester.

"Last year they came with torches", said a large banner in downtown Charlottesville, according to the Washington Post.

Activists were holding a rally in Charlottesville Saturday to commemorate last year's tragedy, amid heavy police presence in the town. We must come together as a nation.

Schoep also addressed the Charlottesville, Virginia incident and said his group, "acted in self defense ... we are not the ones creating the violence. Peace to ALL Americans!" the president tweeted.

Police mobilises hundreds of officers as anti-fascist activists rally peacefully in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia to mark the anniversary of last summer's white supremacist violence.


Newsham joined other city officials and religious leaders to both denounce the white supremacists' message and to assure nervous residents and visitors that a plan to keep everyone safe is in place. Two Virginia State Police troopers also died that weekend when their helicopter, assisting with public safety, crashed during the rally.

UPDATE: At least 100 officers here, in riot gear, guarding the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville tonight.

Michael Shallal, a member of the D.C. chapter of the International Socialists Organization, one of the organizing groups of the Freedom Plaza rally, said that participants from the Washington region and up and down the East Coast will take part in Sunday's event. Soon after though, he said that while there were bad people in the white supremacist group, "you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides".

That quaint Virginia college town, still wrestling with slavery's legacy, was the scene of protests, violent clashes and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was struck down by a speeding vehicle that plowed into a group of counterprotesters.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counterprotestor, was killed last year when a self-identified Nazi drove a auto through a crowd of demonstrators.

Trump came under heavy criticism, including from Republicans, for initially refusing past year to explicitly condemn white supremacists.

"Kessler doesn't have the entire park", said Makia Green, a core member of Black Lives Matter D.C. organizing the local response. "This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork said.

Virginia declared a state of emergency earlier this week.

Sunday's Unite the Right rally in LaFayette Park near the White House is organized by Jason Kessler, who invited the NSM to the Charlottesville event.

Events will begin Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., the site of last year's demonstration.

"I felt the need to be here and support the businesses", Falzer said as she ate lunch at a diner on Main Street.