Hundreds of students and left-wing activists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, as a rally to mark the anniversary of last year's white nationalist gathering turned largely into an anti-police protest.
The "Rally for Justice" event was tied to the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally, which resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer. Almost two dozen people were also injured in the attack, which officials said was carried out by a 21-year-old white man from OH who had demonstrated with the white supremacist groups.
Activists were holding a rally in Charlottesville Saturday to commemorate last year's tragedy, amid heavy police presence in the town. But, he added, "The state police is fully prepared to act on any inciteful violence".
President Trump urges peace for all Americans one year after the deadly incidents in Charlottesville.
Mark Lance, a philosophy professor at Georgetown University and an organizer of some of Sunday's planned the counter-demonstrations, said Kessler's call for "white civil rights" was meant to obscure the beliefs of those that rallied in Charlottesville.
While some businesses closed for the weekend, many merchants remained open in a show of solidarity.
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.
On the day's itinerary were several remembrance events, including a "morning of reflection and renewal", a poetry session, and an appearance by University of Virginia President James Ryan, who was on deck to speak. It's since been lifted, but there have been multiple marches to the downtown area - in one case, demonstrators threatened to knock the Robert E. Lee statue to the ground.
All of this ahead of larger rallies planned in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. Trump said then the group included "fine people". Counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer was killed when a man who police say identified himself as a Nazi drove a vehicle into a crowd, and two Virginia State Police troopers in a helicopter that had been monitoring the civil unrest died in a crash nearby. "Hateful ideologies will not have the last word and their adherents will not get away with violent crimes against those they target", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in respect to Fields' indictment.
"I think there's blame on both sides", Trump said. Participants plan to march from Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood to Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. "This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork said. Jason Kessler, who also organized the Charlottesville rally, predicted 400 in his permit application, but turnout could be much lower. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests. A group raised a banner that said: "Last year they came w/ torches".
Earlier this week, Governor Ralph Northam and the City of Charlottesville declared states of emergency for the city and the Commonwealth as a whole.