Charlottesville: peaceful marches held to commemorate the anniversary of the rally

A group anti-fascism demonstrators march in the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va

Charlottesville, Virginia, has marked the anniversary of white supremacist violence last year with marches, vigils and other community events that began to develop peacefully amid a strong police presence.

As many businesses in a popular downtown business district began opening on Saturday, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and the police were looking for bags at two checkpoints where people could enter or leave.

Students of the University of Virginia (UVA), together with residents and antifascists, organize a "Rally for Justice"

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    A group of protesters known as "Antifa", or antifascists, march near the site of a makeshift memorial where Heather Heyer was killed

A group of protesters known as "Antifa", or antifascists, march near the site of a makeshift memorial where Heather Heyer was killed

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Saturday marked the anniversary of a night march with white supremacists with torches on the campus of the University of Virginia, a day before a larger demonstration in downtown Charlottesville.

On August 12, hundreds of white nationalists, including neo-Nazis, skinheads and members of the Ku Klux Klan, descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city's decision to remove a memorial from Confederate General Robert E. Lee of a park.

Violent fights broke out between the assistants and the counterattailers that day. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later rushed into a crowd of peaceful counterattackers, killing Heather Heyer, 32.

Heather Heyer

An impromptu memorial of flowers and a photo of the victim of the car attack is on display at the attack site in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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The day's death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event and helping with the governor's caravan crashed, killing two policemen.

Among the remembrance events that took place on Saturday was a "morning of reflection and renewal" at the UVA that featured musical performances, a reading of poetry and a speech by the president of the university, James Ryan.

Ryan recalled how a group of students and community members confronted white supremacist protesters near a statue of Thomas Jefferson on campus, calling it a "remarkable moment of courage and courage."

On Saturday, campus security personnel used metal detectors to examine rally participants and journalists before entering the famous Rotunda of the university. A helicopter buzzed overhead. Large trucks blocked the nearby roads.

In the middle of the afternoon, the city said that hundreds of people had passed through the checkpoints in the center of the city. Police arrested three men inside or near the perimeter secured by trespassing, possession of forbidden items and being drunk in public, the city said in a press release.