Charlottesville: Anti-racism march marks rally anniversary

The first anniversary of a night march by white supremacists in Charlottesville Virginia, has passed peacefully amid a heavy police presence.

One year on from violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters

Charlottesville, Virginia, has marked the anniversary of last year's white supremacist violence with marches, vigils and other community events that began unfolding peacefully amid a heavy police presence.

As many businesses in a popular downtown shopping district began to open on Saturday, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police were searching bags at two checkpoints where people could enter or leave.

Students from the University of Virginia (UVA), along with residents and anti-fascists, hold a 'Rally for Justice'
Source: AAP

 A group of protesters known as 'Antifa', or anti-fascists, march near ths site of a makeshift memorial where Heather Heyer was killed
Source: Getty

Saturday marked the anniversary of a night march by torch-toting white supremacists through the University of Virginia's campus a day ahead of a larger rally in Charlottesville's downtown.

On August 12, hundreds of white nationalists - including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members - descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city's decision decided to remove a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park.


Violent fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters that day. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later barreled into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

 

The day's death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor's motorcade crashed, killing two troopers.

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of the victim of the car attack is on display at the attack site  in Charlottesville, Va.
Source: APP

Among the remembrance events that occurred on Saturday was a "morning of reflection and renewal" at UVA that featured musical performances, a poetry reading and an address from University President James Ryan.

Ryan recalled how a group of students and community members faced off against the white supremacist marchers near a statue of Thomas Jefferson on campus, calling it a "remarkable moment of courage and bravery".

On Saturday campus security personnel used metal detectors to screen rally participants and journalists before they entered the university's famed Rotunda.

A helicopter buzzed overhead. Large trucks blocked off the nearby roads.

State police form a line as students from the University of Virginia (UVA), along with residents and anti-fascists, march across the UVA campus
Source: AAP

By midafternoon, the city said hundreds of people had passed through the downtown checkpoints.

Police arrested three men in or near the secured perimeter for trespassing, possessing prohibited items and being drunk in public, the city said in a news release.

Students from the University of Virginia (UVA), along with residents and anti-fascists, hold a 'Rally for Justice'
Source: AAP

Students from the University of Virginia (UVA), along with residents and anti-fascists
Source: AAP


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Published 12 August 2018 at 10:22am, updated 12 August 2018 at 7:53pm