After authorities had forced the clashing crowds of of white supremacists and counterprotesters to disperse, a vehicle plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer. And two Virginia state troopers died when their surveillance helicopter crashed near the protests.
Elle Reeve, a journalist for Vice News who filmed a viral documentary on the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer, says neo-Nazis continue to recognize her in public and make themselves known.
"Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they're needed", Northam said.
Jeff Stern, State Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said at the press conference that the governor's declaration would allow for the sufficient distribution and utilization of resources across the state - particularly around Charlottesville and in Fairfax County.
Jason Kessler, 34, organizer of both the Charlottesville rally and Sunday's demonstration, calls himself a "white civil rights" activist and said his goal is to spark a conversation while keeping everyone safe.
In response to questions regarding what intelligence has been gathered about any demonstrators or groups planning to show up this weekend, public officials have said that such information can not be publicly revealed.
This year, Charlottesville Virginia is preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.
Violent clashes erupted at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville on 12 August 2017.
The violence in Charlottesville began once rally participants and counter-protesters clashed and a man drove a auto into a group of counter-protesters. "The proposed demonstration or special event will present a danger to public safety, and can not be accommodated within the area applied for, or within a reasonable allocation of City funds and/or police resources", City Manager Maurice Jones wrote in the denial. The list of scheduled speakers included several leading white nationalist figures, including Richard Spencer. And critics said their delayed response contributed to clashes between white supremacists and neo-Nazis and counterprotesters.
"The statue itself is symbolic of a lot of larger issues", Kessler said a year ago.
The 2017 Charlottesville rally, which drew white supremacists and neo-Nazis, was originally meant to protest the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate General Robert E. Lee that still stands.
"This puts M.P.D.in a very precarious position", Newsham said, adding that officers will be "on high alert for anyone carrying a firearm".
"I sat in a closed session briefing - probably two months ago - about Charlottesville, with the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation amongst others, and asked if Russian intermeddling had do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville", he said.
The group paraded through the University of Virginia's campus, shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans.
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