State of Emergency declared in Charlottesville ahead of white supremacist rally anniversary
The presence of police on the streets would act as a deterrent to anyone who would want to come into the community to prevent other citizens from exercising their freedom of speech
Charlottesville, in Virginia, has declared a state of emergency ahead of the one year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally, where white nationalists and counter-protesters clashed violently last year. The clashes had ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer when a car plowed into the group of counter-protesters, 35 other people were also treated for injuries.
Police Chief RaShall Brackney, while addressing a news conference, on Wednesday said that the state of emergency has been instated to provide maximum law enforcement resources starting at 6 pm on Friday and it would continue through Monday morning.
The state Governor Ralph Northam also declared a statewide emergency early Wednesday. According to NBC News, the declarations would mobilize the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard, and other state agencies this weekend and would free up nearly $2 million for first responders.
The police chief added that the presence of police officials on the streets would act as a "deterrent to anyone who would want to come into the community" to prevent other citizens from exercising their free speech. Brackney also added:"People are welcome into the community. People are invited into the community."
According to authorities, a downtown area has been secured for demonstrators. Authorities also stated that protesters are banned from bringing weapons to the demonstrations including bats, mace, fireworks, lumber, stun guns, BB guns or any other types of guns, including air rifles, and sharp items.
The officials also added that demonstrators would also be prohibited from wearing masks during their rallies. Reports state that the official "Unite the Right 2" anniversary is scheduled on Austust 11 and August 12 at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which closely tracks extremist organizations, said that the organizer of the rally Jason Kessler hopes that neo-Nazi Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen of Wisconsin and Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke will attend the event and give speeches.