State Of Emergency Declared Ahead Of 'Unite The Right' Anniversary

State Of Emergency Declared Ahead Of 'Unite The Right' Anniversary

Kerry Wise
August 14, 2018

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Fairfax County, Virginia Police Chief Ed Roessler answer questions from reporters about the city's preparations for the white nationalist-led rally marking the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" protests in Washington, U.S., August 9, 2018. Handguns, however, will not be banned, because of state and federal gun rights law, officials said.

Multiple events are planned to mark the anniversary of the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, which resulted in the deaths of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and Virginia State Police Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

CBS affiliate WCAV-TV says the response efforts have been in development since March.

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Virginia State Police Superintendent Gary Settle said more than 700 state police will be activated during the weekend and that they are "fully prepared to act" to prevent any incidents like a year ago. "For the anniversary of that hard August weekend, which resulted in three lives lost, the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia are working closely with law enforcement and public safety agencies from around Virginia to plan for potential events to keep our city safe from violence", said Charlottesville Interim City Manager Mike Murphy. "They use events like this divisive racial fight, which really ignores the commonality that we as Americans have with one another regardless of our race or ethnicity or religion".

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In the immediate aftermath, US President Donald Trump drew broad criticism when he appeared initially reluctant to condemn the extreme right-wingers - many of whom have rallied behind him since his election, including David Duke, a former KKK leader and avowed racist and anti-Semite who praised Trump's "courage" in defending white nationalist protesters. James Alex Fields Jr., of OH, faces murder charges in Heyer's death.

Chaos erupted before the event even began, with participants and counter-protesters brawling in the street.

Several peaceful events are planned in Charlottesville to commemorate last year's event and promote racial healing.

A defined security area will be established around downtown that will include security checkpoints limiting access to pedestrians.