Anniversary of fatal Charlottesville rally puts city, D.C. on edge

Russia's Embassy in the United States has dismissed claims that Russian Federation played a role in fanning racial tensions at a violent white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia one year ago.

Authorities in the state were criticized for failing to maintain peace during last year's violent rally as they had not planned ahead but this year police said they are prepared to ensure law and order.

One counter protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed when a self-proclaimed white supremacist rammed a crowd of activists at high speed.

The release added these declarations will enhance planning and cooperative response efforts that have been in development since March.

Last year's protests in Charlottesville began August 11 and saw hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers, accompanied by rifle-carrying men, yelling white nationalist slogans while wielding flaming torches in scenes eerily reminiscent of racist rallies held in America's South before the Civil Rights movement.

Virginia State Police Superintendent Gary Settle said more than 700 state police will be activated during the weekend and that they are "fully prepared to act" to prevent any incidents like previous year.

He told reporters Wednesday that central Charlottesville would be be accessible by only two entry points. "We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully".

Meanwhile, Alan Popovsky, who owns several restaurants with president themes in D.C., said he plans to serve Sunday brunch at his restaurant, Lincoln, and then close for dinner, after his staff said they were anxious about their safety.

The Law Center's outreach director Lecia Brooks told AFP the rally reflected a "continued emboldenment on the part of white nationalists in this country".

Restaurants in downtown Washington, D.C., are taking precautions for the "Unite the Right 2" white supremacist rally planned for Sunday, with some planning to close for the weekend and others educating their staffs on handling hard customers.

Counter-protesters turned out to demonstrate against the rally. Later, a woman was killed when a auto drove into a crowd of people opposing the white nationalists, and dozens more were injured.

Several city officials left their jobs in the months after the rally.

A defined security area will be established around downtown that will include security checkpoints limiting access to pedestrians.

Officers will endeavor to keep the two sides separate, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said.


Popular

CONNECT