Heavy security as Charlottesville anniversary weekend opens

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President Donald Trump on Saturday was critical of racism in a tweet acknowledging the anniversary of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly past year.

On Sunday morning, activist Grace Aheron, 27, donned a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and joined hundreds of fellow Charlottesville residents who gathered at Booker T. Washington Park to mark the anniversary of last year's bloodshed.

"We must come together as a nation", Trump wrote on Twitter from his golf club in New Jersey.

It was a departure from his comments a year ago in which he said "very fine people" were among the white supremacists in Charlottesville, prompting a political firestorm that lasted for days and culminated in an infamous press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in NY.

"We have people coming to our city for the sole objective of spewing hate", Bowser said at a news conference Thursday.

Trump's words contrast sharply with his first public comments on the events last summer, which left 32-year-old anti-racist counterprotester Heather Heyer dead after a suspected white nationalist plowed his auto into a crowd on August 12, 2017. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests.

A student rally has been planned this weekend in Charlottesville to reclaim the campus square where the white supremacists marched past year wielding tiki torches.

Trump has retweeted white nationalist material, said Mexicans crossing the U.S. border are rapists and drug dealers, once referred to a Hispanic Miss Universe as "Miss Housekeeping" and employed Steve Bannon, a central figure of the new "alt-right" in America, as his campaign chief and top strategist for a time.

Black Lives Matter militants say last year's incident was not an isolated one.

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Auhthorities said two people were arrested, one for trespassing and the other for disorderly conduct. He said then that there were "good people on both sides", and later "blame on both sides".

Police blocked off streets and mobilized hundreds of officers for the anniversary of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A small group of "Unite the Right" attendees arrived in Washington around 3 p.m. led by Kessler, who organized today's rally.

"Oh my dear heavens, there were so many people who were wounded that day", Bro said.

A year after James Alex Fields Jr. intentionally slammed a vehicle into a crowd protesting the racist "Unite the Right" demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, many people turned to the streets and social media this weekend to remember Heyer and denounce racism ahead of a white supremacist anniversary rally near the White House. "We don't see no riot here", student activists chanted Saturday evening. The declarations enable law enforcement to access state resources, including the National Guard, if unrest breaks out at events in and around Charlottesville and outside Washington, where a "Unite the Right 2" rally is set to occur.

"I don't want other mothers to be in my spot", she said, her voice breaking with emotion.

President Donald Trump sent out a message prior to the rally on Saturday morning, condemning all racism and violence.

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.

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