Washington, DC Officials Prepare for Upcoming Nationalist Rally a Year After Charlottesville

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Organized by Unite the Right - the same white supremacist network that called last year's protest in Charlottesville, Virginia - Sunday's rally will once again see the extremists stand face-to-face with anti-fascists, who are staging a counter protest in the same area.

During an interview this summer, Kessler said he was still "coming to terms" with what happened at last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and said he apologized to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a motorist drove his auto into a group of counter-protesters.

The company is citing its community values as grounds to cut ties with participants of the rallies, which stemmed from a protest past year to protect Confederate statues - which included neo-Nazi groups - but exploded in violence.

Ahead of the weekend, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency for the state, authorizing the Virginia National Guard to help keep the peace.

Charlottesville's interim City Manager Mike Murphy said many lessons were learned from last year's tragic events.

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The Washington D.C. Police Department held a press conference on Thursday, which included comments from Mayor Muriel Bowser and law enforcement about the upcoming weekend.

The "Unite the Right" rally last August, called to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, turned the picturesque Virginia college town into a chaotic scene of street brawls, and one woman was killed when an OH man rammed his auto into a crowd of counterprotesters. He went on to say both actions would not be tolerated.

Mr Kessler had sued the city after he was denied a permit to hold a second rally, but dropped the case last Friday.

Washington, D.C. officials issue an emergency order for increased security ahead of the the Unite the Right rally scheduled for Sunday.

"There is no city better equipped to handle large-scale events, including First Amendment events, than Washington, D.C", said Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham.

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Murphy also made a decision to close the City Market Aug. 11 due to public safety concerns in the downtown area. Hundreds of state troopers and other law enforcement personnel have already begun to descend upon the City as the region and state prepare for any demonstrations or other incidents of civil unrest this weekend.

That shock was compounded when US President Donald Trump blamed violence "on many sides", refusing to park the blame exclusively with the organizers and supports of the "Unite the Right" rally.

"I don't know exactly what will happen, but it probably will not be good", tweeted Richard Spencer, a leader of the so-called "alt-right" movement, who said he would be staying away from the rally.

"We are closely monitoring the intelligence that is available to us about who is coming and who is going elsewhere", Brackney said Wednesday. "This also from the president who, on time after time after Charlottesville, said, 'There are very fine people on both sides'".

Last year, a rally was organised by white supremacist network Unite the Right in response to growing frustration over the planned removal of statues honouring Confederate generals in Charlottesville.

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Past year the protest was conducted legally as the permits were granted by the city of Charlottesville.

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