DC, Charlottesville on edge as white nationalists prepare to rally

Sergio Conner
August 12, 2018

President Donald Trump was roundly condemned a year ago for saying there was "blame on both sides" for the violence, condemning the anti-fascists who came "with clubs in their hands".

Trump's tweet on Saturday faced criticism on social media as some jumped on the his wording of "all types of racism", after his claim a year ago that "both sides" were responsible for the violence.

"We must come together as a nation", Trump wrote on Twitter from his golf club in New Jersey.

In a tweet over the weekend, Trump said he condemned "all types of racism and acts of violence". "Peace to ALL Americans!" the president tweeted.

Organized by Unite the Right - the same network that called last year's protest in Charlottesville, Virginia - Sunday's rally will once again see the extremists stand face-to-face with anti-fascists, who are staging a counter protest.

Carlson's group locked arms and chanted slogans of their own, including "Black Lives Matter!" and "No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist USA!".

They declined, though, to detail specific security threats or whether known white supremacists and nationalists, such as rally organizer Jason Kessler, would be in the area.

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After a few minutes, most of the demonstrators began to walk away.

A day after tensions between police and community activists almost boiled over on the University of Virginia's campus, the city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. Government and police officials in Washington have expressed confidence the city can manage the events without violence; the mayor and police chief have promised a massive security mobilization to keep protesters and counter-protesters apart.

During an interview this summer, Kessler said he was still "coming to terms" with what happened previous year and said he apologised to Heyer's family. Violence broke out between the white supremacist groups and counterprotesters and resultedin the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Trump has retweeted white nationalist material, said Mexicans crossing the United States border are rapists and drug dealers, once referred to a Hispanic Miss Universe as "Miss Housekeeping" and employed Steve Bannon, a central figure of the new "alt-right" in America, as his campaign chief and top strategist for a time. Two Virginia State Police troopers also died that weekend when their helicopter, assisting with public safety, crashed during the rally.

Another far right rally is scheduled to take place this Sunday in close proximity to the White House.

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 night, she was angry at the police response to the student rally.

District law states you can't deny service to anyone based on political affiliation, but when it comes to behavior that threatens a protected class, D.C. law does allow businesses to deny services.

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