Arrests made in Charlottesville ahead of anniversary of deadly rally

Clay Curtis
August 12, 2018

Kessler had sought a permit from the city of Charlottesville to hold an event commemorating the "Unite the Right" rally this weekend, but withdrew his request in a federal court hearing late last month, according to city officials.

"We have seen in the past where these two groups have been in the same area at the same time, it leads to violent confrontations", Newsham said at a press briefing Thursday. Among them was Courtney Commander, a friend of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old who was killed when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalists.

But his reactions to last year's events - and aspects of his conduct in the year since them - loom large.

The most intense moments occurred in the evening at the University of Virginia campus at the "Rally for Justice", where a group of some 200 Antifa activists shouted at riot police lines, "Black Lives Matter!" and "No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist USA!".

"I just think that we all very aware of what type of person now occupies the White House and the terrorism that has faced the nation because - partly because he's there", Mayor Nikuyah Walker said on CNN Friday.

Trump blamed "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, drawing an equivalency between white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the people protesting them. Miska is known for trying a year ago to remove the shroud covering the Robert E. Lee statue at the epicenter of the original rally.

Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy says he told the police commander that the students were upset by the officer's tactics and called the officers' riot gear "over the top".

The standoff ended without any clashes as organizers urged the crowd to move away and begin marching off campus. There were no immediate reports of arrests on campus.

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Numerous protesters directed their anger at the heavy police presence, with chants like "cops and Klan go hand in hand", a year after police were harshly criticized for their failure to prevent the violence. "Who do you serve?"

The group made its way to downtown before dispersing.

The rest of the day had been much quieter, with some residents and businesses expressing that they felt calmer with the police presence in town. Deploying riot police along the security perimeter, law enforcement went on to erect concrete barriers and metal fences before setting up entry points with metal detectors to screen rally participants.

Bro said people who hear her speak, or who know about what happened to Heyer, contact her and say they've been inspired. "It feels good that they're here in front of our store".

"Wish it could have been here a year ago, because we probably could have prevented a lot of things from happening. It looked like a war zone past year compared to what it is today".

August 12 marks the day when members of the alt-right and white supremacist groups protested Charlottesville's decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. The city closed downtown streets and public parks and restricted access to a downtown "security area", where visitors were prohibited from wearing masks or carrying certain items, including skateboards, catapults, glass bottles, bats and knives.

Fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters that day.

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