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Heavy security marks Charlottesville protests anniversary

12 August 2018
Heavy security marks Charlottesville protests anniversary

US President Donald Trump, often accused of denigrating non-white people, condemned racism Saturday as the nation marked the anniversary of deadly unrest triggered by a neo-Nazi rally here.

"Today we pause to remember the lives lost, and the lives forever changed, by the violence in Charlottesville a year ago".

The vice president also noted he and the second lady will be praying for the victims of that day in Virginia and continue praying Americans come together in new and renewed ways. "Peace to ALL Americans!"

"A group of white nationalists came to a peaceful Virginia town seeking to use hate and division to incite violence against fair-minded, innocent civilians", Warner tweeted.

Late Saturday morning, when many businesses in a popular downtown shopping district were beginning to open, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors.

Concrete barriers and metal fences were put up and police were searching bags at checkpoints.

A white supremacist rally is set for Sunday in Washington, D.C., but it is not clear if the National Socialist Movement will be participating.

What resulted was hundreds of violent clashes between white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK members armed with flaming torches and counter protesters.

Trump famously said post-Charlottesville that there was violence "on many sides." .

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, was struck and killed when a white supremacist slammed his auto into a crowd of counterprotesters.

Several dozen demonstrators from the so-called "antifa", or anti-fascist, movement marched to the spot where Heather Heyer was killed previous year when a man linked to white supremacist groups rammed his vehicle into counter-protestors.

"We don't want to be painted as victims", Carlson said Saturday, several hours before students and activists gathered for a rally near the statue on the anniversary of the campus confrontation.

University of Virginia professor Lisa Woolfork says she doesn't know anyone who feels safer because of the increased police presence.

The organiser of last year's event, white nationalist Jason Kessler, was denied a permit in Charlottesville this year but has secured permission to hold a demonstration on Sunday in Washington, across the street from the White House. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) says the action would encourage its 3 million members to share messages of unity and call out white supremacy on social media.

Trump also tweeted Saturday about his record in lowering the unemployment rate among African Americans and addressing criminal justice reform. The order also allows Virginia National Guard to assist in security efforts. The driver, James Alex Fields, has been indicted on federal hate-crime and state murder charges.

Now, one group is vowing to counter-protest with dancing.

Earlier this week, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency saying "the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they're needed".

Now, ahead of the anniversary of the horrific rally, the governor of Virginia has declared states of emergency for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Charlottesville.

Kyle Rodland, who took his young sons to get ice cream downtown, said he felt much safer than past year, when he left town with his family and stayed with his parents after seeing people armed with long rifles walking around outside his home.