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  • White nationalist Jason Kessler talks during a rally near the White House on the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon

  • Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, embraces supporters after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Bro said there's still "so much healing to do." She said the city and the country have a "huge racial problem" and that if it's not fixed, "we'll be right back here in no time." (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Mourners embrace each other as they remember Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • A couple embrace as they participate in prayers at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Demonstrators listen to speakers on the campus of the University of Virginia in during a rally marking the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • An anti-fascist demonstrator marches on the campus of the University of Virginia during a rally marking the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • A group of anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter demonstrators march in front of the Rotunda on the campus of the University of Virginia in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Charlie Spearman, foreground, and Jae Em Cafico kneel at a memorial dedicated to Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) CRAIG HUDSON | Gazette-Mail

  • Ahmed Mohamed writes a message on the ground of the alleyway where a memorial for Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, is located in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) CRAIG HUDSON | Gazette-Mail

  • Emily Filler attempts to dissuade state police from advancing on students rallying on the grounds of the University of Virginia on the anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) CRAIG HUDSON | Gazette-Mail

  • Groups protest in Freedom Plaza with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on the one year anniversary of Charlottesville's "Unite the Right" rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon

  • Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Demonstrators confront police at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • A demonstrator confronts police at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • A couple hold hands as the participate in prayers at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Susan Bro, right, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, embraces a supporter after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Last year, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • A counterprotester is led away by police after being arrested in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. The group of protesters marked the one year anniversary of the Unite the right rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Susan Bro, center back to camera, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, embraces a supporter after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Last year, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Susan Bro, center, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, and her husband, Kim, right, speak to supporters after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Bro said there's still "so much healing to do." She said the city and the country have a "huge racial problem" and that if it's not fixed, "we'll be right back here in no time." (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Members of a SWAT team keep an eye on demonstrators marking the one year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • Susan Bro, center right, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, and her husband, Kim, center left, speak to supporters after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Bro said there's still "so much healing to do." She said the city and the country have a "huge racial problem" and that if it's not fixed, "we'll be right back here in no time." (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Steve Helber

  • White nationalist Jason Kessler arrives at the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. White nationalists are gathering in Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz) Sait Serkan Gurbuz

  • White nationalist Jason Kessler arrives at the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. White nationalists are gathering there to travel to Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz) Sait Serkan Gurbuz

  • A White nationalist is shown during a rally near the White House on the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon



Associated Press
Sunday, August 12, 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A year after a deadly gathering of far-right extremists in Charlottesville, a few dozen white nationalists marched Sunday across from the White House, their numbers dwarfed by thousands of counterprotesters, while the mother of a woman killed at last summer’s protest said the country continues to face unhealed racial wounds.

The events, largely peaceful though tense at times in Charlottesville and Washington, were part of a day of speeches, vigils and marches marking the anniversary of one of the largest gatherings of white nationalists and other far-right extremists in a decade.

In Washington, dozens of police in bright yellow vests formed a tight cordon around the small group of white nationalists, separating them from shouting counterprotesters within view of the White House.

President Donald Trump wasn’t at home — he has been at his golf club in New Jersey for more than a week on a working vacation.

Jason Kessler, the principal organizer of last year’s “Unite the Right” event, led the Sunday gathering he called a white civil rights rally in Lafayette Square. Kessler said in a permit application that he expected 100 to 400 people to participate, but the actual number was far lower: only around 30.

Counterprotesters, who assembled before the rally’s scheduled start, vastly outnumbered Kessler’s crowd. Thousands showed up to jeer and shout insults at the white nationalists.

Makia Green, who represents the Washington branch of Black Lives Matter, told Sunday’s crowd: “We know from experience that ignoring white nationalism doesn’t work.”

By about 5 p.m., those in Kessler’s group packed into white vans and left, escorted by police.

Earlier this month, Facebook stunned and angered counterprotest organizers when it disabled their Washington event’s page, saying it and others had been created by “bad actors” misusing the social media platform. The company said at the time that the page may be linked to an account created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency — a troll farm that has sown discord in the U.S. — but counterprotesters said it was an authentic event they worked hard to organize.

Earlier in the day in Charlottesville, the mother of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters during last year’s rally, said there’s still much healing to be done.

Susan Bro laid flowers at a makeshift memorial at the site of the attack in downtown Charlottesville. With a crowd gathered around her, she thanked them for coming to remember her daughter but also acknowledged the dozens of others injured and the two state troopers killed when a helicopter crashed that day.

“There’s so much healing to do,” Bro said. “We have a huge racial problem in our city and in our country. We have got to fix this, or we’ll be right back here in no time.”

Hundreds of neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists descended on Charlottesville last Aug. 12, in part to protest over the city’s decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Violent fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but chaos erupted again when the car barreled into the crowd.

James Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, is charged in state court with murder in Heyer’s killing and faces separate hate crime charges in federal court. He pleaded not guilty last month to the federal charges.

The day’s death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter crashed, killing Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates.

Among the other anniversary events was a Sunday morning community gathering at a park that drew more than 200 people. The group sang and listened to speakers, among them Courtney Commander, a friend of Heyer’s who was with her when she was killed.

“She is with me today, too,” Commander said.

Law enforcement officials faced blistering criticism after last year’s rally for what was perceived as a passive response to the violence that unfolded. A review by a former U.S. attorney found a lack of coordination between state and city police and an operational plan that elevated officer safety over public safety.

The anniversary weekend was marked by a much heavier police presence, which also drew criticism from some activists.

Demonstrators on Sunday marched through Charlottesville chanting, “Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” and “Will you protect us?”

The city of Charlottesville said four people were arrested in the downtown area. Two arrests stemmed from a confrontation near the Lee statue where a Spotsylvania, Va., man stopped to salute, a Charlottesville woman confronted him and a physical altercation took place, officials said.