As officials in the U.S. capital of Washington and in the neighboring state of Virginia brace for the first anniversary of a white nationalist rally that exploded in deadly violence, U.S. President Donald Trump Saturday issued a plea for unity. We must come together as a nation, ' he wrote on Saturday morning. This year, his official account tweeted a condemnation of "all types of racism and acts of violence". "Peace to ALL Americans!" the president tweeted. Among them was Courtney Commander, a friend of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old who was killed when a auto plowed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalists.
Crowds of white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed before a vehicle plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer.
Two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates, also died during the white nationalist rally.
A student rally has been planned this weekend in Charlottesville to reclaim the campus square where the white supremacists marched past year wielding tiki torches.
As the second annual Unite the Right rally is set to begin, this time in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., Charlottesville streets are covered in chalk messages remembering a life they lost at last year's rally.
Some 300 people have gathered in Lafayette Park in Washington DC to oppose a white nationalist rally that is scheduled in the USA capital on Sunday afternoon.
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Trump added he has "fought" to improve the lives of minorities and vowed "I will never stop fighting for ALL Americans!"
The violence culminated when a man plowed his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman named Heather Heyer and injuring 19. This year they come w/ badge" and chanted "Why are you in riot gear? "13 days or 12 days so you got to give him a little time", said Charlottesville attorney Jeffrey Fogel.
It was a departure from his comments a year ago in which he said "very fine people" were among the white supremacists in Charlottesville, prompting a political firestorm that lasted for days and culminated in an infamous press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in NY.
Trump's daughter Ivanka, a White House aide, was more explicit in her condemnation of the "ugly display of hatred, racism, bigotry & violence" previous year at Charlottesville.
Critics have said the university was unprepared and didn't do enough to intervene during the clashes, which left several people injured. Virginia knows hate and division from its past, and we've spoken out to say we will not be dragged backwards. And the events likely will be dwarfed by counterprotests, for which permits also have been issued.
The city of Charlottesville marked the anniversary of last year's white supremacist violence that sent ripples through the country with largely peaceful vigils and other events, but police had a brief, tense confrontation with demonstrators angry over the heavy security presence there this weekend.