Hundreds take to Charlottesville streets a year after far-right rally

A counter-protester stands in front of state police at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

A counter-protester stands in front of state police at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

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.

As many businesses in a popular downtown shopping district began to open Saturday, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors.

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

"It's nice that they're here to protect us", said Lara Mitchell, 66, who works at a shop selling artwork, jewelry, and other items.

"Wish it could have been here previous year, because we probably could have prevented a lot of things from happening".

Any response from Trump to this year's demonstrations could have consequences as Democrats look to harness outrage for electoral gains.

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Unite the Right 2 will take place Sunday afternoon in Lafayette Park in front of the White House and mark the one year anniversary of Charlottesville. The rally turned violent as protesters clashed with counterprotesters, ultimately resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, 32. It ended after a far-right protester rammed his auto into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring more than a dozen others. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests.

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.

University of Virginia students started their own march for justice on Saturday night chanting, "Hey, hey, UVA who will you exploit today" and "No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist U.S.".

In Charlottesville, at least one rally is being organized on the University of Virginia campus by a group of student activists, UVA Students United.

Although no rally is planned in Charlottesville this weekend, Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia declared a state of emergency.

Local and state authorities framed the weekend's heightened security as a necessary precaution.

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An independent investigation by a former federal prosecutor of last year's rally determined the violence got out of hand, in part, because law enforcement was overly passive and uncoordinated.

"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.

"Last year, I was afraid of the Nazis".

Trump insulted the intelligence of National Basketball Association star LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon, both of whom are black, reignited his crusade against black football players protesting against police brutality and told a group of business leaders that Chinese students studying in the United States were spies. "This is not making anyone that I know feel safe".

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

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

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