Prior to the anniversary of Unite the Right rally, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville have declared a state of emergency.
Unite the Right rally is also known as the Charlottesville rally or Charlottesville riots. It occurred in 2017, from August 11 to 12, and was prompted by the city’s plans to eradicate a Confederate statue from a local park. A group of white nationalists had also descended onto Charlottesville for the rally.
A 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed in August 2017, while she was struck by a car that had smashed into a crowd of counter protesters. That weekend, two Virginia State troopers were also killed as their helicopter crashed into a nearby forests.
Northam’s office informed that from Friday through Sunday, several events are planned in the Charlottesville area to mark the anniversary of the rally.
Northam said, “Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully.”
“I am urging Virginians to make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate, should those arise. Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they are needed,” he added.
Over the weekend, resources from the Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Health and Virginia National Guard will be present in Charlottesville. According to the governor’s office, the declaration will also allocate $2 million in order to pay for the response.
Last year, Hundreds of counter-protesters clashed with the rally attendees. In order to break out in the street, they caused violent clashes and thus, prompted the former Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.