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.
The president's tweet comes ahead of planned events to mark the one-year anniversary August 12 of the deadly "Unite the Right" rally, an event where protesters gathered, some in opposition to the removal of Confederate statues, others in support of white supremacy.
Following the tragedy, President Trump denounced the violent rally, while noting there was "blame on both sides".
He then condemned all types of racism and acts of violence. "Peace to ALL Americans!", Trump wrote on Twitter.
The racist provocateur who organized last year's far-right rally has moved on to Washington, DC, where he has received a permit to stage a "white civil rights rally" on Sunday in front of the White House.
The protestors eventually walked away and no arrests were made.
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.
The violence culminated with a man driving a vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 people.
"We have seen in the past where these two groups have been in the same area at the same time, it leads to violent confrontations", Newsham said at a press briefing Thursday. The conflict culminated in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, when James Alex Fields Jr., whose social media accounts included posts espousing white supremacy, purposely drove his vehicle into a crowd of counterprotesters. "This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork said.
Congressman Tom Garrett, R. -Va., on Saturday said Russian Federation is to blame for some of the hate spewed from last year's rally.
A group anti-fascism demonstrators march in the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests.
Bro said Heyer, a paralegal for a Charlottesville law firm, helped her understand white privilege, and she has been attempting to explain that to others.
The council's drama doesn't seem to affect most residents, who "just go on with our lives and watch with quiet amusement", said Charles "Buddy" Weber, an attorney and longtime resident involved in a lawsuit seeking to stop the city from removing the Lee monument.
An independent investigation of the rally violence, led by a former federal prosecutor, found the chaos past year stemmed from a passive response by law enforcement and poor preparation and coordination between state and city police.