Charlottesville Anniversary: Rallies Planned One Year After Death of Heather Heyer

Charlottesville memorial
A makeshift memorial at the spot of Heather Heyer's death, one year later. Getty

This weekend marks one year since white nationalists took to the streets of Charlottesville in a demonstration of anger that drew crowds of outraged counterprotesters, one of whom was left dead.

Last year's Unite the Right rally turned the picturesque college town into a flashpoint of racial tensions with Confederate flags, swastikas, and torches waving as members of several far-right groups arrived to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

As clashes broke out, a man in Charlottesville from the Unite the Right side plowed a vehicle through a group of counterprotesters, leaving 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and dozens others injured.

While one of last year's Unite the Right organizers, Jason Kessler, was denied a permit to hold a second event this year in Charlottesvile, the Chicago Tribune reports that students and activists plan to hold a Rally for Justice on the University of Virginia campus Saturday.

The university itself said it will be hosting a "morning of reflection and renewal" to mark the anniversary. 

"In order to make sure students and members of the community can gather peacefully Saturday night, we are also putting further security restrictions in place for that specific event, including metal detectors and a perimeter with a single point of entry," UVA President James E. Ryan wrote in a letter regarding the student rally planned Saturday evening. 

Meanwhile, Kessler was granted a permit for his Unite the Right 2 rally, this time in Washington, D.C. where thousands of counterprotesters are expected to convene nearby.

The white nationalist group plans to march from the city's Foggy Bottom neighborhood to Lafayette Square, directly in front of the White House.

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