Virginia declares state of emergency ahead of Charlottesville anniversary
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Virginia declares state of emergency ahead of Charlottesville anniversary

US state bans certain weapons, will impose roadblocks as events are planned to commemorate deadly far-right rally

A white supremacist carrying a Nazi flag into Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (AP/Steve Helber)
A white supremacist carrying a Nazi flag into Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (AP/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON, United States — The governor of the US state of Virginia has declared a state of emergency in and around the city of Charlottesville ahead of the one-year anniversary of a deadly neo-Nazi march.

Ralph Northam, a Democrat, joined the city in announcing Wednesday that the state of emergency would last from Friday to Sunday, according to the local Daily Progress newspaper. Events are planned on those days to commemorate the counter-protesters who were killed or injured during the march.

There will be checkpoints into the city center and a range of possible weapons — including BB guns, chains and poles — will be prohibited.

The white supremacists who organized the 2017 march were denied a permit to reconvene in Charlottesville.

However, they have been granted permission to gather in Washington, DC, on Sunday evening at Lafayette Park, near the White House.

In this August 12, 2017, file photo, people fly into the air as a vehicle is driven into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, United States. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP, File)

Sunday is August 12, the day of the march last year that included outbreaks of violence and culminated in a car-ramming attack on counter-protesters that killed one person and injured at least 20.

The “Unite the Right” rally drew hundreds of white nationalists to the college town, where officials planned to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Hundreds more came out to protest against the white nationalists.

The neo-Nazis and white supremacists protesters chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans, including “Jews will not replace us,” and brawled with counterprotesters.

The car attack came after vicious brawling broke out between white nationalists and counter-demonstrators and authorities forced the crowd to disband.

Last month the driver, James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio, pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges in the violence that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured dozens more.

Fields entered the plea during his initial appearance in US District Court in Charlottesville after being charged with 30 federal crimes.

AP contributed to this report.

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