Authorities in Charlottesville, Virginia, have seized prohibited items such as brass knuckles, and razor blades, The Hill reports.
Hundreds have already made their way through the perimeter, but everyone is obliged to pass through security checkpoints leading into the city’s downtown area. Checkpoints have been established to prevent any potential violence at the one year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally, which ended in the death of one woman, and injuries to dozens of others.
All people passing through established checkpoints are required to either give up their bags or submit to consensual checks for banned objects.
As The Hill noted, an independent investigation by a former federal prosecutor showed that law enforcement was uncoordinated and passive last year, which could be one of the reasons the rally erupted into violence. In an effort to prevent something similar from happening, law enforcement is out in full force this year, along with harsher security measures.
According to U.S. News, two arrests have been made thus far. A 64-year-old man from surrounding Albemarle County was arrested for disorderly conduct, and a 28-year-old man from North Carolina was arrested for trespassing. Both of them were released on a misdemeanor summons.
Throughout the day, The Hill noted, events have mostly been organized by University of Virginia students, as well as counter-protesters, commemorating last year’s tragedy.
Not everyone is happy with the security measures, however.
“Last year, I was afraid of the Nazis. This year, I’m afraid of the police. This is not making anyone that I know feel safe,” University of Virginia professor and protest organizer Lisa Woolfork said, according to The Hill.
In professor Woolfork’s opinion, law enforcement officials are trying to “compensate for last year’s inaction.”
National Park Service, U.S. Park Police, and D.C. police are working together with the U.S. Secret Service to ensure everything goes well. This was confirmed by the U.S. Secret Service via Twitter earlier today.
CNN warned Americans to “get ready for another white nationalist rally” a few days ago. However, earlier today, the Republican lawmaker and Representative for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, Tom Garrett, made a shocking claim, stating that FBI Director Christopher Wray told him Russians contributed to last year’s violence at the Charlottesville rally.
As the Inquisitr reported, Garret is not the first individual to connect the dots between Russia and the American far-right. Following the 2017 Charlottesville rally, security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler argued in an op-ed that Russians may have a lot to do with what happened in Charlottesville.