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US anti-fascist protesters mark anniversary of Charlottesville violent clash

Activists rally at Lambeth Field on the campus of the University of Virginia one year after a torchlit rally of racists marched on campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Anti-fascist protesters mark the anniversary of last year’s violent clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hundreds of students and left-wing activists took to the streets on Saturday, a year after a man with alleged neo-Nazi ties rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring about 20 others.

At one point, police officers in riot gear formed a line near the area where the rally was taking place, prompting many protesters to rush over yelling, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”

Officers stand guard in riot gear on the campus of the University of Virginia on August 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by AFP)

Students said they were angry with police because their response this year was far larger compared with last year, when people carrying tiki torches at the white nationalist rally went mostly unchecked.

The standoff ended with no clashes reported as organizers called on the crowd to move away, however, three men were arrested for minor offenses.

Also, a group of anti-fascist protesters, who have become known as “Antifa,” rallied in the afternoon, carrying signs with messages like “Good Night White Pride.”

Meanwhile, Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s rally, has planned a sequel for Sunday in Washington after he was denied a permit in Charlottesville.

President Donald Trump, who came under criticism for his response to last year’s violence, called for peace and unity on Saturday morning as the country was preparing to commemorate the anniversary of the bloody rally in Charlottesville.

"We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence," Trump posted on Twitter Saturday morning.

Last year, Trump claimed that there “were very fine people, on both sides" of the conflict.

Trump equated the actions of the white supremacists, who carried Nazi flags and chanted antisemitic slogans, to the actions and anti-racist chants of the counterprotesters.

He argued that both sides were to blame for the deadly incidents that day.

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