From Aug. 10-12, locals in Virginia, particularly Charlottesville, can expect to see an increased presence of law enforcement in their area. In an announcement on Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia shortly before Unite The Right's anniversary. Although organizers for the white nationalist march will mark a one-year anniversary in Washington, D.C., Northam said in a statement that the neighboring Virginia would prepare itself for "the potential impacts of events."
Expanding on the decision to enforce a state of emergency in Virginia, Northam referred to the three people killed during the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, including an anti-racism protester named Heather Heyer. "Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully," Northam said.
"I am urging Virginians," the Virginian governor went on to say, "to make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate, should those arise. Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they are needed."
In a statement released on Wednesday, Charlottesville’s Interim City Manager Mike Murphy also explained the reason for enforcing a state of emergency for Charlotteville pointing to the "lessons" learned in 2017. "We have learned many lessons from the tragic events of Aug. 12, 2017. For the anniversary of that difficult August weekend which resulted in three lost lives, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia are working closely with law enforcement and public safety agencies from around Virginia to plan for potential events and to keep our city safe from violence," Murphy said.
"We join the Commonwealth in declaring a state of emergency in advance of these planned events to ensure all available resources are in place and that we are fully prepared to keep the peace in Charlottesville Aug. 10–12," he added.
The white nationalists for Unite The Right's anniversary rally are expected to be joined by other right-wing factions in the capital. According to New York Magazine, organizers are arranging the march supposedly to "protest civil rights abuses in Charlottesville." The 2017 rally ended in violence with anti-racism activist Heyer's murder along with white nationalists physically attacking an African American man.
For this year's white supremacist rally, organizers will reportedly invite Neo-Nazi figures such as Patrick Little but also well-recognized veteran white supremacists such as the Ku Klux Klan's "grand wizard" David Duke among others. The National Park Service revealed these names in documents, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Under an announced state of emergency, Virginia will allocate $2 million for enhanced law enforcement security and hope for the best. It's difficult to say what the white supremacist anniversary march will yield. But based on last year's horrific and reprehensible events, the state of Virginia seems to be taking no chances this August.