Emergency declared ahead of Charlottesville anniversary

GW to close some buildings for 'Unite the Right' rally

After Charlottesville denied him a permit this year, event organizer Jason Kessler turned his attention to Washington, D.C. with a rally scheduled to be held at Lafayette Park near the White House on Sunday.

The "Unite the Right" rally last August, called to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, turned the picturesque Virginia college town into a chaotic scene of street brawls, and one woman was killed when an OH man rammed his vehicle into a crowd of counterprotesters. Jason Kessler, who has helped organize the event for white nationalists, said past year that Airbnb's policy proved that conservative free speech and civil rights were under attack.

Numerous most prominent white supremacist leaders from last year's rally have suffered setbacks in the past year, a result of forceful counter-protests, a series of lawsuits filed against different white supremacist leaders, movement feuds and infighting, and, in one case, prosecution for domestic violence. Many students say they are upset that the university did not warn them about this in advance, especially since it falls as many students are moving in for the new school year.

Uber, Lyft and Airbnb each took some actions against white nationalists around the time of last year's march.

According to Unite the Right rally's website, marchers plan to meet at the Vienna Metro station and then they will convene at the Foggy Bottom Metro station where they will be escorted by law enforcement as they make their way down to Lafayette Park for a 5:30 p.m. rally. Those torches carried by white supremacists in Charlottesville a year ago shone a light on an ugly truth.

Brackney said that public safety officials planning for the anniversary weekend are also trying to balance the safety and security of Downtown Charlottesville - without overmilitarzing the area. The Stonewall Jackson monument near the courthouse has been barricaded; mesh fencing has been placed on the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park. James Alex Fields Jr., of OH, faces murder charges in Heyer's death.

Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement in Charlottesville on Wednesday, saying the state of emergency will be in effect August 10-12.

Kessler tweeted in July that "as Trump said, "There were MANY FINE PEOPLE" at the first event & I stand by that".

Charlottesville, best known for being home to the state university created by Thomas Jefferson, may seem like an unusual choice for a heated battle involving neo-Nazis, but there was a reason that "Unite the Right" organizers chose the town for their rally. Guns won't be allowed at the Sunday march and violence won't be tolerated. The Unite the Right event comes on the anniversary of last year's deadly Charlottesville demonstration. But Newsham, the District's police chief, remained elusive when discussing ingress and egress plans Thursday, insinuating that the means and route Kessler's group ultimately takes could and probably would change at the last minute.

"We 100 percent are going to make sure the groups remain separate", Newsham added, noting that Secret Service are working closely with local police.



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