Peaceful Charlottesville rally anniversary

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Anti-fascists have march through Charlottesville a year after last year’s Unite the Right rally.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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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