Charlottesville Prepares For Alt-Right Crowds, Announces Street Closings

Street closings that will begin late Friday afternoon and last all Saturday have been announced by the Charlottesville Police Department as they prepare for what is being described as “largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A change in venue was met with protests from alt-right leaders who have filed a complain after their rally location was changed from Emancipation Park, former Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated for removal by Charlottesville City Council.

Bearing Drift’s Rick Sincere reported on the latest:

An article published on Bearing Drift is among the exhibits attached to a complaint filed in federal court late today by the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute, calling on the City of Charlottesville to reverse its decision to revoke a permit granted to alt-right activist Jason Kessler to hold a rally in what was until recently called Lee Park, now known as Emancipation Park.

Billed as the “Unite the Right” rally, Newsweek reported on those planning to attend:

The Unite the Right gathering of extremists protesting the removal of a Confederate-era statue will draw alt-right groups, neo-Confederates, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis, all of whom have been “emboldened by the Trump presidency,” according to nonprofit civil rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The extremists will be met by counter-demonstrators from left-wing and civil rights groups, including Antifa and Black Lives Matter, with Virginia state law enforcement officers equipped with riot gear to police the event alongside officers from  local forces.

Law enforcement officials believe the rally could draw thousands, according to local media reports. Congregate Charlottesville, a multi-denominational clergy group, made a July call for 1,000 clergy, especially white clergy, to attend the rally in protest, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

According to the SPLC, Saturday’s event will be the first large-scale physical meeting by disparate white nationalist and far-right groups, who have previously been confined to extremist messaging boards, websites and social media.

Among those expected to address the gathering are alt-right provocateur Richard Spencer, and rapper turned alt-right troll Tim Gionet, also known as “Baked Alaska,” reports Vice.

“This is the biggest rally event we’ve had this millennium,” event organizer Brad Griffin said on a recent radio showed hosted by former KKK leader David Duke.

Those in Charlottesville on Saturday including law enforcement, stay safe.

MEDIA RELEASE from Charlottesville Police Department
Statement by Captain Victor Mitchell

We know there are questions about where this rally will take place. Mr. Kessler applied for a permit at Emancipation Park. The permit was granted for McIntire Park.

We are prepared for multiple possibilities and Charlottesville Police Department, with assistance from the Virginia State Police, has plans in place to protect citizens in both parks.

Individuals have a constitutional right to gather and peacefully protest. The Police will be there to insure this takes place. We want people to have the opportunity to express their opinions while keeping the protestors and our community safe.

We also want to point out that we still have a city to protect. I want to assure the citizens of this city – if you call 911 for an emergency – a police officer will respond. We have enlisted the assistance of the Albemarle County Police Department and the University of Virginia Police Department. If you live in the city and call the police, someone from one of the two agencies showing up to assist. Non-emergency calls for service will be held by the Emergency Communications Center until conclusion of the event.

As an alternative and to assist citizens reporting of non-emergency incidents, the Charlottesville Police Department will have personnel available at the department to handle telephone, walk-in and on-line reports in lieu of a response by an Officer. To file an on-line report, please visit the Charlottesville Police Department web page, https://www.charlottesville.org/police, and click on the link to file an on-line report.

There will be no road closures around McIntire Park other than the entrance to McIntire Park from the Bypass next to the fire station. That will be closed. Parking for Mr. Kessler’s group will be available in the park. Parking for counter demonstrators will be available at Charlottesville High School. Those parking at CHS should arrive by taking the 250 bypass to Melbourne Rd entering CHS from the Melbourne entrance.

There may still be crowds downtown that will necessitate the road closures surrounding Emancipation Park, we will be putting these in place as a precaution.

************************
The road closures for downtown are as follows:

Friday August 11 from 5:00 PM to Saturday August 12 at 7:00 PM
• 200 block of 2nd St NE
• 200 block of 1st N

Saturday August 12 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
• E. Market St. from W. High to E. Market St. @ 4th St. NW.
• 2nd St NW @ Water St to E. Market St.
• 2nd StNW@W.HighSttoE.MarketSt.
• 1st StN@W.HighSt.toE.MarketSt.
• 2nd St NE @ High St. to E. Market St.
• 3rd. St NE @ High St. to E. Market St.
• W. Jefferson St. from 2nd St. NW to 4th St. NE @ E. Jefferson St.
• E. Market @ Old Preston Av.
• 4th St NE @ E. Market (Mall crossover closed)

The following parking restrictions will be in effect as scheduled below: August 11 at 5:00 PM through August 12 at 7:00 PM
• 2nd St NE @Market St. to E. Jefferson St.
• 1st N @ Market St. to E. Jefferson St.
August 12 at 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM:
• 2nd St NW from W. High St to the Downtown Mall
• 1st St N from W. High St. to Downtown Mall
• 2nd St NE from High St. to Downtown Mall
• 3rd St NE from High St. to Downtown Mall
• West Jefferson St. @ 2nd St. NW to E. Jefferson St @ 4th St. NW • E. Market St. @ Old Preston Ave. to 4th St. NW @ E. Market St. • Old Preston Ave to the Downtown Mall

Temporary no-parking signs have been installed in the designated areas and towing will be enforced on 8/11-12/17 during the restricted times.

In addition, the following sidewalks will be closed Friday August 11 at 5:00pm through Saturday August 12 at 7:00pm:
• 200 block of 2nd St. NE
• 200 block of 1st North
• 100 block of E. Jefferson St.

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