Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

American extreme right plans unity rally in small Virginia town, faces counterprotest

American extreme right plans unity rally in small Virginia town, faces counterprotest

The Charlottesville City Council voted in April to remove the monument and rename Lee Park, but a judge granted a temporary injunction the following month leaving the statue in place pending further proceedings.

Thousands of people are expected at the Unite the Right rally being held at Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park.

The Daily Progress in Charlottesville reported that the white supremacists began marching at the college's Nameless Field and ended at the rotunda, where police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly.

The Charlottesville Area Transit detours went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday, with all service ending at 8 p.m. Saturday, except for the free trolley.

"I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans", said McAuliffe.

Police Chief Alfred Thomas with the Charlottesville Police Department says there is a lot of anxiety in the community but says his department is ready to keep people safe.

Units of the Virginia National Guard will be placed on stand-by, he added.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally that is expected to draw "alt-right" activists and white nationalists, filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against the city of Charlottesville.

The decision came after civil rights attorneys representing Kessler's effort to hold the rally in Emancipation Park argued that tweets and public statements by city councilors show that the city's attempt to move the rally to McIntire Park was in response to the rally's content rather than public safety.

He said he considered the viewpoint of those supporting the rally "abhorrent", but also says it's their right to peacefully express it. "As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right".

McAuliffe asked both supporters and opponents of the rally to stay away.

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