Charlottesville prepares for protests 1 year after violent Unite the Right rally

Charlottesville prepares for protests 1 year after violent Unite the Right rally

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - We are approaching one year since the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer and injured several others back on Aug. 12, 2017.

"Aug. 12, 2017 was an awful day for these victims, their families, the Charlottesville community, and this country," said Thomas Cullen, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

The person who organized the event wants to come back to Charlottesville. He's fighting the city in court, because Charlottesville leaders denied his request for a permit.

Chances are, people will show up. Some say they want to return to Charlottesville to heal and remember those hurt last year, but leaders with Unite the Right also want to return, even holding a simultaneous event in Washington D.C.

"We will not allow white supremacists - or any cowards, for that matter - to come into our community and try to scare us," said Charlottesville Councilman Wes Bellamy.

Bellamy did not speak about why the city denied the request. He did say how he feels about last year's event that resulted in violence and death.

"What we've seen transpire, in terms of white supremacists coming to our city, much of that is because they felt welcome in some ways," said Bellamy.

On a website titled "Unite the Right 2," participants are told to be available in Washington and Charlottesville on Aug. 12 and 13.

Organizers are also using that website to tell supporters to obey the law and not to bring weapons or racist symbols.

One section of the website says, "This is a White Civil Rights rally, not a street fight."

While there is no word if the permit will be approved, area police are training for the potential of large crowds.

"That's their right, but I can say for a fact that our city and community as a whole, we reject all racist ideology. We will stand up and we will stand our ground," says Bellamy.

A community briefing will happen Thursday evening at the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church regarding this very topic. It will happen at 6 p.m. with updates from city leaders.

This as Charlottesville undergoes some leadership changes.

There's a new police chief in town, and the current city manager is reportedly set to be gone by the end of the month.

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