Latest: Student rally organizer critical of police response

August 12, 2018
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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)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Latest on events marking the anniversary of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia (all times local):

10 p.m.

A counterprotester who faced down a group of white supremacists that marched through the University of Virginia’s campus last year says she’s angry at the police response to a student rally on campus marking the anniversary.

Twenty-two-year-old Clara Carlson said Saturday that the university administration “let white supremacists roll through” campus with torches last August, but is “afraid” of student protesters who are demanding change.

Carlson graduated from the university this year and helped plan a rally Saturday marking the anniversary of the confrontation last August. She says she feared for her life when a phalanx of young white men carrying torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans surrounded her and a group of her friends.

More events are planned Sunday in Charlottesville to mark the anniversary of a larger gathering of white nationalists that descended into violence.

Jason Kessler, the primary organizer of last summer’s rally, has also obtained a permit for a “white civil rights” rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.


8 p.m.

A confrontation between police officers in riot gear and demonstrators on the University of Virginia campus appeared to be de-escalating after a tense few minutes of shouting.

Students and other activists had gathered Saturday evening for a pre-planned rally to mark the anniversary of a campus confrontation between torch-carrying white nationalists and counterprotesters.

Demonstrators unfurled a banner that said “Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badges.”

A group of more than 200 protesters then marched to another part of campus. Students began delivering speeches over a loudspeaker.

Many in the crowd then broke away and shouted at officers in riot gear forming a line.

After a few minutes, most of the demonstrators began to walk away.

Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy says he told the police commander that the students were upset by the officer’s tactics and called the officers’ riot gear “over the top.”


7:10 p.m.

A counterprotester who faced down a group of white supremacists who had marched through the University of Virginia’s campus is in Charlottesville to take part in a “Rally for Justice.”

Twenty-two-year-old Clara Carlson says she feared for her life last year when a phalanx of young white men carrying torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans surrounded her and a group of her friends.

Carlson’s group locked arms and chanted slogans of their own, including “Black Lives Matter!” and “No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist USA!”

Students and activists are rallying Saturday evening to mark the anniversary of the campus confrontation.

Carlson, who graduated from the university this year, says the rally was designed to send a message that “we’re still here and we’re still fighting.”


4:40 p.m.

The mother of a woman killed when a man drove into a crowd at a white nationalist rally last summer says she’s not looking forward to Sunday’s anniversary of her daughter’s death but knows she “will survive it.”

Susan Bro told The Associated Press on Saturday that she has “survived all the other firsts” since her daughter, Heather Heyer, was killed. Bro spoke from her office inside the law firm where Heyer used to work as a paralegal.

Bro regularly gives interviews to talk about Heyer and her legacy. But she said that privately, she’s been dreading the anniversary and the feelings it stirs up.

Bro likened losing a child to standing in shallow water and hanging on while being washed over by waves. But she says “today, I feel like high tide is in.”

The man accused in the car attack is charged in state court with murder and also faces separate hate crime charges in federal court.


2:30 p.m.

Authorities in Charlottesville say they have seized prohibited items such as brass knuckles as hundreds of people have passed through security checkpoints leading into the city’s downtown area.

A news release from the city Saturday afternoon said several hundred people had made their way through the perimeter that was established at 8 a.m.

The city says law enforcement at the access points are conducting consensual checks for objects that were banned as a security measure during the weekend anniversary of last summer’s violence. The news release says individuals can refuse the searches but unsearched bags or packages won’t be allowed inside.

The city tweeted just before 2:30 p.m. that two arrests had been made so far Saturday. A 28-year-old North Carolina man was arrested for trespassing and a 64-year-old man from surrounding Albemarle County, Virginia, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The city says each man was released on a misdemeanor summons.