Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville riot where white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters in a shocking confrontation that killed one, but it’s all peace and quiet so far in the small town.
Security has been beefed up as hundreds of officers take the streets and the downtown area surrounded with barricades, as antifascists arrive to protest.
But there’s been no clashes so far, despite the state and city declaring a state of emergency to avoid the chaos that unfolded at the site last year on August 12, 2017.
One man has been peacefully arrested for purchasing razor blades, a banned item in the downtown for the weekend, at a nearby drugstore.
Charlottesville, Virginia is calm on the one year anniversary of the race riot that saw white nationalists and counter-protesters go head to head and resulted in the death of one
Anti-fascist protesters have arrived in the police locked down downtown area where they peacefully rallied and marched carrying a sign that says ‘Good Night White Pride’
The group held their sign up as they marched through the downtown area flooded with officers
A North Carolina woman walked through the downtown mall holding a ‘No Room for Hate’ sign in what seems to be a calm afternoon despite the city declaring a state of emergency
Members of the Charlottesville community were spotted meditating outside the Renaissance School
The state brought 700 police officers as well as 300 Virginia National Guard members into the city for the weekend and splashed out a whopping $2million to pay for response measures.
On Friday, counter-protesters gathered at a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killing during last year’s Unite the Right rally. Her mother spoke with reporters at the spot where she was killed.
On Saturday the day peacefully began with police officers taking over the downtown area that has been barricaded with concrete barriers and metal fences.
As visitors trickled into Charlottesville’s downtown they were checked by heavy security and searched at two bag check points.
President Donald Trump tweeted on the Unite the Right rally’s anniversary saying he condemns ‘all types of racism and acts of violence’.
‘The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation,’ he added.
Although the day was calm, local resident John Miska was arrested for purchasing razor blades, which are banned items in the locked down downtown area
Twitter users showed how Miska was surrounded by cops as he was escorted away
The downtown area was barricaded allowing just two security check points, one pictured
The state brought in 700 police officers as well as 300 Virginia National Guard members to prevent the violence that boiled over last year from occurring again
By 1pm anti-fascist activists rallied in the downtown area and peacefully so, according to The Charlotte Observer.
A few dozen black-clad demonstrators marched through the city, stopping to pay tribute and observe a moment of silence at Heyer’s memorial.
Some carried signs that said: ‘Good night white pride.’
Students at the University of Virginia are scheduled to march on their Charlottesville campus Saturday evening.
‘They are reclaiming that space because last year white supremacists came with their torches and took over that part of campus,’ according to NPR.
State police arrested local resident John Miska in the locked down downtown area after he purchased razor blades, a banned item in the area for the weekend, in a downtown drugstore. He peacefully complied as he was handcuffed and escorted out surrounded by police officers.
Twitter users shared his image noting his peaceful arrest.
Heather Heyer, 32, (pictured) was protesting the racists was killed when she was mowed down close to the park
The spot where she was shot was covered with flowers and anti-hate chalk messages as the anniversary of her death approaches
The spot where Heather Heyer, 32, was killed last year has been renamed Heather Heyer Way
Locals and visitors placed flowers and stopped by Heyer’s memorial to pay tribute
Antifa protesters visited her memorial, sobbing on the ground and clutching onto each other
Antifa members donning all black walked through the downtown area in a silent parade
Protesters left chalk messages in anticipation of the Unite the Right rally set to take place tomorrow, this woman is pictured writing the blaring message ‘Pigs Go Home’
‘Virginia is for lovers not Nazis’ another poignant chalk message says in anticipation of 1,000 protesters expected to show up in Charlottesville on Sunday
While security measures were heightened and city elders issued a list of banned items in the 18-block locked down area downtown barring bats, sticks, skateboards and razor blades, guns were notably still allowed to get in.
The group did ban ‘BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles or pistols, paintball guns and stun guns.’ There was no mention of the real thing.
‘Under Virginia law we cannot regulate firearms,’ city spokesman Brian Wheeler told DailyMail.com.
A handful of other cities in the state have that right, Wheeler said. Following last year’s violence, Charlottesville applied to be added to the list but was turned down.
‘It certainly does not strike me as sensible, but it’s the law,’ he said.
As for rallies set to take place in Washington DC tomorrow, guns have been banned even for licensed holders.
Trump tweeted Saturday on the anniversary on the deadly riot saying ‘I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!’
Virginia governor Ralph Northam shared this message on the anniversary of the race riot
Charlottesville City Hall warned locals that security was beefed up for the weekend and that there was a list of prohibited items in the downtown square
The full list of prohibited items issued by the city reads: ‘BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles or pistols, paintball guns, nunchucks, tasers, stun guns, heavy gauge metal chains, lengths of lumber or wood, poles, bricks, rocks, metal beverage or food cans or containers, glass bottles, axes, axe handles, hatchets, ice picks, acidic or caustic materials, hazardous or flammable or combustible liquids, skateboards, swords, knives, daggers, razor blades or other sharp items, metal pipes, pepper or bear spray, mace, aerosol sprays, catapults, wrist rockets, bats, sticks, clubs, drones, explosives, fireworks, open fire or open flames, and any other item considered an “implement of riot.”’
People wearing masks and hoods will also be stopped from going inside the city center.
‘It’s like they have every cop this side of the Mississippi in town,’ local resident Marybeth Collins told DailyMail.com as she walked in Emancipation Park, the epicenter of last year’s rally.
Hundreds of state police officers descended on the university town, determined to prevent a repeat of last year’s violence
Buses containing police are pictured arriving at the University of Virginia Basketball stadium ahead of the anniversary
The retired teacher said she feels there will be no repeat of last year’s violence which was sparked by a rally to protest the proposed removal of a 26-ft. high bronze statue of Robert E. Lee on horseback, the centerpiece of the park — which was known as Lee Park until June last year.
‘Obviously they weren’t prepared last year. This year I think they are.’
John Kessler, the organizer of last year’s rally, has been denied a permit this year. But he has won the right to hold a protest close to the White House, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
Wheeler said Kessler has the right to turn up in Charlottesville so long as he does not organize a rally of more than 50 people. ‘We just don’t know whether he will be here.’
The city spokesman said he expected around 1,000 protestors in town, but admitted that figure could be way off.
The Lee statue — which is on the National Register of Historic Places — still stands in the park.
Following last year’s violence, the city ordered it to be shrouded in black while legal maneuvers to remove it were worked out. But in February this year a judge ordered the shroud to be lifted.