Washington braces for rally a year on from clashes


White supremacists who marched and attacked counter-protesters in Charlottesville a year ago continue to be publicly identified.

The group directed chants against police officers who were accompanying the march, including "cops and Klan go hand in hand".

Around 10 a.m. Saturday, when many shops were beginning to open, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors in the popular downtown shopping district.

He also said that some of the white nationalists and neo-Nazis were "very fine people" and appeared to sympathize with their opposition to the removal of a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the city.

The rally attracted counter protesters, and clashes quickly broke out between the two groups.

University of Virginia students started their own march for justice on Saturday night chanting, "Hey, hey, UVA who will you exploit today" and "No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist U.S.".

At least one rally is being organized on the University of Virginia campus by a group of student activists, UVA Students United.

Paul Wiedefeld, chief executive of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the metro, told reporters at the station that a full blown security operation was in effect to avert the kind of violence that erupted in Charlottesville previous year. He said then that there were "good people on both sides", and later "blame on both sides". "But today, I feel like high tide is in". No cars were permitted in the central business area, and pedestrians had to pass through security checkpoints before they could enter.

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Some leading figures in the USA white nationalist movement have said they won't attend or have encouraged supporters to stay away.

Kyle Rodland, 35, took his young sons to get ice cream downtown late Saturday morning. Among those, Airbnb said it would ban users who rent out their properties to participate in the Unite the Right rally, citing their terms of service, stating users agree, "To treat everyone in the Airbnb community - regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age - with respect, and without judgment or bias". Those torches carried by white supremacists in Charlottesville a year ago shone a light on an ugly truth.

The group paraded through the University of Virginia's campus, shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. On Saturday, students and activists plan to hold a "Rally for Justice" on campus while the university is hosting a "morning of reflection and renewal", with poetry readings and musical performances.

The city said increased police presence in Charlottesville this weekend is meant to deter violence and keep people safe.

The demonstrations also come at a time when the wounds from last year's clash in Charlottesville remain raw, particularly in regards to the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was killed when a suspected neo-Nazi sympathizer drove a auto into a crowd.

The suspect in the attack, James A. Fields, was later charged with federal hate crimes.

Two Virginia state troopers who were monitoring the rally were later killed in the line of duty when their helicopter crashed.

Jason Kessler, the primary organizer of last summer's rally, sued the city of Charlottesville after it refused to issue him a permit for another event this weekend.