Trump commemorates Charlottesville violence with appeal to unity

White supremacists are slated to hold a rally in front of the White House on Sunday evening to mark the first anniversary of the violent "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. White supremacy is imprinted in the DNA of this nation, and what we saw in August 2017 was an eruption of that ideology.

That drew criticism from the NAACP's Sherrilyn Ifill, who tweeted back: " 'All types.' 'Both sides.' Continuing to advance a narrative of moral equivalency between racists and those opposed to racism, so as not to tick off his white supremacist supporters". "Peace to ALL Americans!", Trump wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday, demonstrators are set to hold a "white civil rights rally" on the anniversary of last year's "Unite the Right" protest. "We have a huge racial problem in our city and in our country".

Politicians and activists shared tributes to Heather Heyer on Sunday, honoring the 32-year-old woman killed one year ago while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The day's death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor's motorcade crashed, killing two troopers.

Before previous year, when white supremacists staged violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, a wealthy university town, many white Americans did not take the threat of neo-Nazi groups seriously. Nineteen others were injured in the attack. Heyer was among the hundreds of counter protestors who marched in opposition to the white nationalists.

The "Unite the Right" rally is scheduled for Sunday in Lafayette Park, just across from the White House.

"With their Nazi flags and their Confederate flags and their rifled militias, it was something I never thought I'd see in Charlottesville", Spaar said.

Clashes at the rally resulted in at least 30 injuries and the death of Heather Heyer, after a vehicle driven by James Alex Fields Jr. plowed into a group of counter-protesters. F*ck you! "You don't protect us!" and "All cops are bastards!"

An independent investigation of last year's rally violence, led by a former federal prosecutor, found the chaos stemmed from a passive response by law enforcement and poor preparation and coordination between state and city police. They unfurled a banner reading, "Last year they came w/ torches".

White nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville past year, billing it as a protest over the removal of a statue honoring a commander of the Confederate Army, the losing side in the US Civil War. "This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork said.

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.

"Nasr said the event, "#ResisDance", is was organized by a collective of queer and trans organizers under Shut it Down D.C., which is coalition of different organizations and local groups based in the DC metropolitan area.

  • Tracy Klein