One year after the tragic Charlottesville march, more than 200 protestors planned a rally on Saturday evening amidst peaceful vigils at the University of Virginia to mark the anniversary of the confrontation between tiki torch-toting white nationalists and counter-protestors. As a result, authorities had a brief confrontation with the students.
Students were angry over the heavy security on campus as a result of their rally. A group raised a banner that said: “Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badges.” According to the Associated Press, the activists chanted, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”
Kibiriti Majuto, a coordinator for UVA Students United, said the students moved to another part of campus from the planned area to avoid feeling “caged.” Majuto claimed that the police “were not on our side” last year when white supremacists confronted counterprotesters.
Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy attempted to diffuse the tense confrontation between the protestors and the authorities. Bellamy told the police commander that the students were upset by the officers’ tactics, calling the officers’ riot gear “over the top.”
The protestors eventually walked away and no arrests were made. The rest of the evening remained quiet.
Aug. 12 marks the day when members of the alt-right and white supremacist groups protested Charlottesville’s decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. Violence broke out between the white supremacist groups and counterprotesters and resultedin the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of last year’s rally is planning another “white civil rights” rally on Sunday. Events marking the anniversary are expected in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C.