Washington braces for white nationalists a 12 months after Charlottesville clashes

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Reuters) – Washington was bracing for a white nationalist rally on Sunday organized to coincide with the anniversary of final 12 months’s racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

FILE PHOTO: Counter-protesters chant, a day earlier than a white nationalist-led rally marking the one 12 months anniversary of the 2017 Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ protests, exterior the White House in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The “Unite the Right 2” occasion was scheduled to happen at 5:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) in Lafayette Square, throughout the road from the White House. Several counterprotests have additionally acquired permission to collect close by.

Authorities have promised an unlimited police presence to maintain either side aside and keep away from the road brawls that broke out final 12 months in downtown Charlottesville. A neighborhood lady, Heather Heyer, was killed when an Ohio man, James Fields, drove his automotive right into a crowd of counterprotesters.

At the time, President Donald Trump stated there have been “very fine people” on either side, spurring criticism from throughout the political divide that he was equating the counterprotesters with the rally attendees, who included neo-Nazis and different white supremacists.

On Saturday, Trump condemned “all types of racism” in a Twitter publish marking the anniversary.

In Washington on Saturday night, almost two dozen cops patrolled Lafayette Square. Members of the Washington chapter of Black Lives Matter have been sprinkled by way of the park, seemingly standing on guard.

Organizers of #OccupyLafayettePark, a civil rights group that holds nightly protests within the sq., held up posters studying “Love America, Hate Trump” and “Defend The District From White Supremacy” only a few steps away from the White House.

In Charlottesville, a whole bunch of cops maintained a safety perimeter across the usually bustling downtown district on Saturday. Vehicular site visitors was barred from an space of greater than 15 metropolis blocks, whereas pedestrians have been allowed entry at two checkpoints the place officers examined luggage for weapons.

Hundreds of scholars and activists took to the streets on Saturday night, as a rally deliberate for the University of Virginia campus became a march by way of town.

Many of the protesters directed their anger on the heavy police presence, with chants like “cops and Klan go hand in hand,” a 12 months after police have been harshly criticized for his or her failure to forestall the violence.

Earlier on Saturday, a bunch of anti-fascist protesters walked by way of the downtown space, holding indicators with messages like “Good Night White Pride.”

But the day was largely freed from confrontation, and rumors that white nationalists deliberate a return to Charlottesville on Saturday turned out to be unfounded. Authorities had arrested three folks by early night, all for minor offenses.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; further reporting by Katanga Johnson in Washington; enhancing by Jonathan Oatis

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