DC, Charlottesville on edge as white nationalists prepare to rally

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Washington is bracing for a white nationalist rally that law enforcement agencies will try to prevent from descending into a melee like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, that cast a shadow over Donald Trump's presidency a year ago.

"The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division", the president said from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort.

He adds that, "We must come together as a nation".

President Trump urges peace for all Americans one year after the deadly incidents in Charlottesville.

With hundreds of police maintaining a tight security perimeter around a 15-block downtown area, Charlottesville's normally bustling business district was relatively quiet on Saturday.

"It's nice that they're here to protect us", said Lara Mitchell, 66, who works at a shop selling artwork, jewelry, and other items.

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Concrete barriers and metal fences were put up and police were searching bags at checkpoints.

Richard Spencer, a leading white-nationalist leader who helped Kessler organize last year's event, has said he will not participate in Sunday's rally.

Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy attempted to diffuse the tense confrontation between the protestors and the authorities.

That quaint Virginia college town, still wrestling with slavery's legacy, was the scene of protests, violent clashes and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was struck down by a speeding auto that plowed into a group of counterprotesters. On Saturday night, she was angry at the police response to the student rally. "This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork fumed.

Among the remembrance events scheduled for Saturday was a "morning of reflection and renewal" at UVA that featured musical performances, a poetry reading and an address from University President James Ryan.

"This event on Sunday will be that which allows the First Amendment to occur because our beat, our daily responsibilities on the National Mall is our nation's civic stage", said Unite States Park Police Chief Robert MacLean.

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The mother of Heather Heyer, who died past year when a white nationalist slammed his auto into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, has urged people to stay peaceful as Washington DC readies itself for Unite the Right 2. The man accused of killing Heyer faces murder and hate crime charges. Thousands of protesters are expected in Washington, D.C., on Sunday with far-right groups organizing another "Unite the Right" rally and anti-fascist groups expected to respond.

A collective of counter-protest groups will stage a rally earlier in the day before congregating at the park and have vowed to drown out the white nationalists' message. The Governor has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville. "You let it go and you're OK until the next one comes", she said.

Bro said the event had sparked painful memories of her daughter's death, which has led to murder charges against the alleged driver of the vehicle, James Fields.

The Virginia State Police has deployed hundreds of troopers to Charlottesville for the August 12 weekend in order to prepare for potential violence.

The counter-demonstration organized by Lance's Shut It Down D.C. coalition will feature minority, immigrant and other groups targeted by white nationalists, said Lance, "so that people can see overwhelmingly that these folks are unacceptable and are invaders in our town".

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