Charlottesville anniversary weekend opens
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. » Police blocked off streets and mobilized hundreds of officers for the anniversary of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The security measures alarmed activists but reassured others who said they have painful memories of last year’s chaos.
Local and state authorities framed the weekend’s heightened security as a necessary precaution.
Late Saturday morning, when many businesses in a popular downtown shopping district were beginning to open, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police were searching bags at two checkpoints where people could enter or leave.
Nearby, dozens of officers carrying helmets and with gas masks strapped to their belts stood watch in the park where hundreds of white nationalists gathered last summer at a rally planned in part to protest the city’s plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.