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Hundreds March in Peaceful Protests in Charlottesville

Hundreds March in Peaceful Protests in CharlottesvilleHundreds March in Peaceful Protests in Charlottesville

The American city of Charlottesville marked the anniversary of last summer’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.

“Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here,” activists chanted Saturday evening. Shortly before a planned evening rally to mark the anniversary of a campus confrontation between torch-carrying white nationalists and counter-protesters, activists unfurled a banner that said, “Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badges,” CBS reported.

A group of more than 200 protesters—students, residents and others—then marched to another part of the University of Virginia’s campus, where many in the crowd shouted at officers in riot gear forming a line.

At some point, dozens of demonstrators marched off campus through other parts of the city, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets” and “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” The group made its way to downtown before dispersing.

The rest of the day had been much quieter. In the downtown shopping district Saturday morning, officers outnumbered visitors. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police searched bags at two checkpoints.

Last year, on August 12, hundreds of white nationalists—including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members—descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city’s decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Fighting broke out between attendees and counter-protesters that day. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later barreled into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor’s motorcade crashed, killing two troopers.

 

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