Emergency declared ahead of Charlottesville anniversary
11 August, 2018, 20:20 | Author: Charlene Valdez
NBC 12 reports that Jason Kessler, the organizer of the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally, had a permit approved for a rally this Sunday in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks north of the White House.
Trump drew strong criticism in the days after the Charlottesville rally a year ago for equating white supremacists with counter-protesters and saying "both sides" were to blame.
Last year's Unite the Right rally ended with violent clashes between marchers and counter-protesters.
Governor Ralph Northam and the City of Charlottesville Wednesday declared states of emergency for the Commonwealth and the city to address the potential impacts of events in and around the City of Charlottesville and outside of Washington, D.C., on August 10-12, 2018. He admitted there were many lessons to be learned from last year's violence in Charlottesville.
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Last year, violent clashes with counter-protestors left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead. Two state troopers also died that day in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville.
The law enforcement agencies closed off access to the downtown mall and set up barricades to prevent vehicle traffic on downtown streets.
The company canceled accounts and bookings ahead of the original "Unite the Right" rally, which occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.
Michael Shallal, a member of the D.C. chapter of the International Socialists Organization, one of the organizing groups of the Freedom Plaza rally, said that participants from the Washington region and up and down the East Coast will take part in Sunday's event. Organizers said that at approximately 3:30 p.m., participants will begin marching to Lafayette Square to voice their opposition to the white nationalists and white supremacists who are meeting there.
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Bowser said safety should not be a concerned, but understood why some are anxious. But, he added, "The state police is fully prepared to act on any inciteful violence". She activated the city's Emergency Operations Center, giving law enforcement groups the green light to deploy any and all of the resources needed to keep the city safe.
In Aug. 2017, hundreds of people traveled to Charlottesville to participate in the Unite the Right rally and protest the city's plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park that was named after the Confederate general.
More than 700 Virginia State Police personnel alone are trained and ready to be assigned if the need arises, Virginia State Police Colonel Gary T. Settle said. "This also from the president who, on time after time after Charlottesville, said, 'There are very fine people on both sides'".
"Our role is to make sure we have a First Amendmentevent that goes on without any types of violence or destruction of property", Newsham said, according to CNN affiliate WTOP.
President Donald Trump on Saturday used one of his morning Twitter missives to acknowledge that the weekend marks the first anniversary of Charlottesville, Virginia's deadly white nationalist rally and to condemn racism in America.
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