Charlottesville on high alert on the anniversary of white supremacist violence

A group of anti-fascist activists rallied peacefully in downtown Charlottesville as the city marks the anniversary of last summer’s white supremacist violence.

A few dozen black-clad demonstrators marched through downtown Saturday afternoon, stopping to pause for a moment of silence at the site where a woman protesting a white nationalist rally was killed last August.

Some in the group scrawled messages in chalk at the site that hosts a makeshift memorial to Heather Heyer. Several police officers watched from a distance.

The group then continued marching, with some members carrying a sign that said, “Good night white pride.”

As the activists made their way wordlessly through a downtown pedestrian mall, people sitting outdoors at cafes began singing “This Little Light of Mine.”

Around 10 a.m. Saturday, when many shops were beginning to open, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors in the popular downtown shopping district. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police were searching bags at two checkpoints where people could enter or leave.

Saturday marks a year since white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches, clashing with a group of counterprotesters. The following day, a much larger gathering of white nationalists near a downtown park erupted into violence. (AP)

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<p>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., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

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., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

<p>A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>State Police take a break in an office above a closed bridal shop in the downtown area of Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

State Police take a break in an office above a closed bridal shop in the downtown area of Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

<p>A couple comforts each other as they observe the flowers and hand-written messages at a makeshift memorial dedicated to Heather Heyer off the mall in downtown Charlottesville, Va., one-year after the violent white nationalist rally when Heyer was killed and dozens of others injured. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A couple comforts each other as they observe the flowers and hand-written messages at a makeshift memorial dedicated to Heather Heyer off the mall in downtown Charlottesville, Va., one-year after the violent white nationalist rally when Heyer was killed and dozens of others injured. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Law enforcement officers patrol past the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Law enforcement officers patrol past the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>A man adds on August 10, 2018 to the hand-written chalk messages that line the walls outside of the buildings where one year ago, Heather Heyer was killed by a speeding vehicle driven by a white supremacist as she was protesting the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A man adds on August 10, 2018 to the hand-written chalk messages that line the walls outside of the buildings where one year ago, Heather Heyer was killed by a speeding vehicle driven by a white supremacist as she was protesting the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A group wearing anit-facist attire is directed by law enforcement as they march ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group wearing anit-facist attire is directed by law enforcement as they march ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>Kim Ganczak writes on the street with chalk near a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer, who was killed one year ago tomorrow during a deadly clash, Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Kim Ganczak writes on the street with chalk near a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer, who was killed one year ago tomorrow during a deadly clash, Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

<p>A group wearing antifa paraphernalia march ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group wearing antifa paraphernalia march ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

<p>Law enforcement arrives ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Law enforcement arrives ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>A group of protesters known as “Antifa”, or anti-fascists, march near ths site of a makeshift memorial where Heather Heyer was killed last year Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group of protesters known as “Antifa”, or anti-fascists, march near ths site of a makeshift memorial where Heather Heyer was killed last year Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

<p>Law enforcement arrives ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Law enforcement arrives ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>Members of the Virginia State Police patrol the downtown mall area of the city Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Members of the Virginia State Police patrol the downtown mall area of the city Aug. 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

<p>Flowers and messages are left at a memorial to Heather Heyer ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Flowers and messages are left at a memorial to Heather Heyer ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>Hundreds of state police officers descend upon downtown Charlottesville as the city marks the anniversary of last year’s ‘Unite the Right rally’ in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Hundreds of state police officers descend upon downtown Charlottesville as the city marks the anniversary of last year’s ‘Unite the Right rally’ in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>A woman leaves flowers at a memorial to Heather Heyer ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A woman leaves flowers at a memorial to Heather Heyer ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>Friends link arms at the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Friends link arms at the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>State Police arrest a local resident, John Miska, in the locked down downtown area in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. Miska purchased razor blades, which are banned items, in a downtown drugstore. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

State Police arrest a local resident, John Miska, in the locked down downtown area in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. Miska purchased razor blades, which are banned items, in a downtown drugstore. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

<p>A man holds a sign near the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A man holds a sign near the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

<p>A woman walks with her dog to a memorial for Heather Heyer ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A woman walks with her dog to a memorial for Heather Heyer ahead of the one-year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

<p>A vendor displays wares on the mall as State Police lock down the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A vendor displays wares on the mall as State Police lock down the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

<p>Virginia State Patrol officers check bags at a checkpoint to enter a mall in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 11, 2018, in anticipation of the year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

Virginia State Patrol officers check bags at a checkpoint to enter a mall in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 11, 2018, in anticipation of the year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A sign reading “Hate Has No Home Here” hangs by the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A sign reading “Hate Has No Home Here” hangs by the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>A street sign renamed in honor of Heather Heyer is seen Aug. 10, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va., a year after she was killed while protesting a Unite the Right rally. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Charlottesville on high alert

A street sign renamed in honor of Heather Heyer is seen Aug. 10, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va., a year after she was killed while protesting a Unite the Right rally. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

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