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Trump condemns racism, year after Charlottesville

12 August 2018

In a dramatic change of tone from the previous year, when he said there was "blame on both sides" for the violence, President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he condemns "all types of racism and acts of violence".

The mother of Heather Heyer, who died previous year when a white nationalist slammed his vehicle into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, has urged people to stay peaceful as Washington DC readies itself for Unite the Right 2.

"I get choked up and have to gather myself before I talk to the client", said Wilson, who hired Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal killed almost a year ago in a auto attack during a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, US.

"The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division", Trump posted on Twitter on Saturday morning.

"I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence", Trump wrote.

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"Peace to ALL Americans!" he tweeted.

However, most sights will be set on Washington, DC, where white nationalists are once again planning a "Unite the Right" rally, which a year ago ended in tragedy in Charlottesville.

A collective of counter-protest groups will stage a rally earlier in the day before congregating at the park and have vowed to drown out the white nationalists' message.

Hundreds of students and protesters descended on Charlottesville's downtown mall and the University of Virginia on Saturday. Government and police officials in Washington have expressed confidence the city can manage the events without violence; the mayor and police chief have promised a massive security mobilization to keep protesters and counter-protesters apart.

In the year since, the city has taken steps toward meeting some of the activists' demands, despite resistance on some issues from the Republican- controlled state legislature.

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"I hope that the images and the noise that we are able to create with this will make people feel empowered", said Makia Green, Black Lives Matter DC core organizer. A similar far-right rally is scheduled for Sunday outside the White House. Miska is known for trying past year to remove the shroud covering the Robert E. Lee statue at the epicenter of the original rally.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed at last year's rally after James Alex Fields Jr. struck her with his vehicle.

Charlottesville is some 187 kilometers from Washington, but officials and opponents of the white nationalist rally fear some protesters may travel to Washington or parts of nearby Northern Virginia.

"I think it's a low bar for the president of the United States to simply say he's against racism", Cummings said on ABC's "This Week". Two state troopers also died that day in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville.

A report on last year's rally found city and state police weren't able to communicate by radio during the unrest because they didn't properly coordinate ahead of time.

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The increased police presence is meant to serve as a "deterrent to anyone who would want to come into the community and exercise their First Amendment rights in a way that would violate someone else's First Amendment rights", Brackney said.

Trump condemns racism, year after Charlottesville