State of emergency declared in Charlottesville for 'Unite the Right' anniversary

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All eyes are on Washington this weekend with white supremacists and anti-fascists organising protests to mark the one-year anniversary of their deadly confrontation at a rally in Charlottesville.

(CNN)White nationalists and other right-wing groups will gather along the lawns and brick paths of Lafayette Square in the shadow of the White House on Sunday for a controversial "white civil rights rally".

Though speeches at the rally aren't scheduled to begin until 5:30 p.m., some counterprotesters plan to start hours earlier, and police will start closing downtown streets at 8 a.m., mainly around the White House and into Foggy Bottom.

Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville declared states of emergency as the anniversary of last year's violent Unite the Right rally approaches this weekend.

Charlottesville's interim City Manager Mike Murphy said many lessons were learned from last year's tragic events.

A 32-year-old activist Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist drove his vehicle into groups of protesters. That weekend, two Virginia State troopers were also killed as their helicopter crashed into a nearby forests.

Charlottesville will have a secured area around downtown with security checkpoints that limit access to pedestrians.

Amid continuing controversy over President Donald Trump's views on race, the events will likely revive memories of his comments after Charlottesville when he said both sides were to blame for the violence. Their permit says they are "protesting civil rights abuse in Charlottesville".

A white supremacist rally is set for Sunday in Washington, D.C., but it is not clear if the National Socialist Movement will be participating.

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Chief Newsham said the main goal is to make sure property does not get damaged and people do not get hurt. Police were widely criticized after last year's event, where some officers did not intervene to stop fistfights and other mayhem.

That shock was compounded when US President Donald Trump blamed violence "on many sides", refusing to park the blame exclusively with the organizers and supports of the "Unite the Right" rally.

Bowser said safety should not be a concerned, but understood why some are anxious.

Protest groups are getting ready for a possible clash in the nation's capital, while law enforcement in DC prepares to gear up for the potentially tense clash.

"As we face this invasion of vile and perverted ideology infesting our region, we stand united in our conviction that a diverse and inclusive Maryland is a stronger Maryland", he said.

"We know that our responsibility is to protect First Amendment events, to protect Washingtonians and to protect our city, and we will do just that", she said.

Schoep also addressed the Charlottesville, Virginia incident and said his group, "acted in self defense ... we are not the ones creating the violence".

"My philosophy is that we will police your behaviors, not ideologies", Brackney said at a briefing last month. "This also from the president who, on time after time after Charlottesville, said, 'There are very fine people on both sides'".