Heavy security marks Charlottesville protests anniversary

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Authorities had carefully planned for Saturday's event in Charlottesville, which previous year became the scene of the Unite the Right rally's clash with the leftist Antifa protesters.

Then, hundreds of white nationalists and even more counter protesters will demonstrate near the White House Sunday.

But residents of Charlottesville are still shaken and on guard.

As many as 400 people are expected to make their way to Lafayette Park across the street from the White House later to take part in an event planned by the organizer of last year's deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, was struck and killed when a white supremacist slammed his vehicle into a crowd of counterprotesters.

Several events were scheduled in the city including a gathering that will include veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and Susan Bro, the mother of the woman who was killed a year ago.

Hundreds of people, mostly men, were holding flaming torches, chanting slogans like "you will not replace us" and "blood and soil". A state police helicopter later crashed, killing two troopers.

First daughter Ivanka Trump received a rude reception Saturday night after she posted a three-tweet statement about the violence in Charlottesville - nearly one year to the day after the white-nationalist "Unite the Right" rally that left one woman dead.

However, today, in a tweet, he wrote: "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division".

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"I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence", Trump added, before declaring, "Peace to ALL Americans!"

This week, NFL players in the first preseason games resumed their protests over police brutality against blacks by raising their fists, kneeling or sitting out during the National Anthem. The legal battle over whether the town can remove statues of Confederate generals from two local parks is still ongoing.

Charlottesville is bracing for what may come this weekend on the first anniversary of the deadly rally. University of Virginia students will march on their Charlottesville campus Saturday night, Debbie tells Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday.

All of this ahead of larger rallies planned in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.

Charlottesville is some 187 kilometers from Washington, but officials and opponents of the white nationalist rally fear some protesters may travel to Washington or parts of nearby Northern Virginia.

Some city officials have strongly pushed back against the premise of the event but have allowed it to move forward due to concerns about free speech. Kessler said on Thursday that he would be in Washington on Saturday, as well, and that he did not know of any plans for other events in Charlottesville. Last year's rally exposed a racial divide in the city, Debbie says.

James Murray, an assistant director in the Secret Service's Office of Protective Operations, warned in a letter on Monday to the Park Service that some of the same counterprotesters who seized downtown streets at the presidential inauguration in January 2017 were also interested in Sunday's demonstrations, and were "known to have engaged in violent and destructive activity".

They also demanded the school bar self-identified white supremacists from the campus this anniversary weekend.