The protesters gathered around the historic rotunda, where a year ago white racists shouted anti-Semitic slogans and carried torches and chanted their own slogans – against the police, against white supremacy and against the University of Virginia. 19659007] "Last year they came with torches," said a large banner in front of a memorial by Thomas Jefferson. "This year they come with badges."
The mood in the crowd began to change as the speakers addressed a large crowd outside Brooks Hall, with dozens of policemen lined up in battle gear on one side of the field. Many of the demonstrators called the police action a provocation-another symbol, they said, of over-demanding America-and began chanting officers holding shields and wearing helmets.
"It's really hard to defend our civil society when [police] do that," said a demonstrator, Tom Freeman. "They just came to us without provocation, nothing, just everything they say about them, and I'm not even an anti-police person."
A year ago, Charlottesville police were outnumbered and poorly prepared for the White Nationalists Association the streets of the picturesque University City, dozens injured and a counter prototer dead. Two Virginia police officers who had been watching the events of the day were killed when their helicopter crashed. A later report, later commissioned by the city, attributed the "catastrophic results" to the Charlottesville Police Department for their response to the events.
On the first anniversary of this rally, held in America Another painful reckoning with racism and hatred, the police were neither numerically nor inferior inferiorly prepared. Indeed, they were inevitable all Saturday, blocking roads, sealed entrances into the city center, more than a thousand strong, on a day when a white supremacy event was not planned but definitely dreaded.
In a city that is already divided over how violently it should confront historical and institutional racism caused only by the unrest of the last Year, there was little consensus on how to understand the contrast between last year and this year. Some described the presence of felons as a difficult necessity to ensure that everyone was safe. Others said the police did not make her feel safe. And yet others saw a racist disparity in the representation of state power.
"I see a disproportionality," said Lisa Woolfork, a U-Va. Professor and activist at Charlottesville Black Lives Matter. "Unless there is something they do not tell us and have a certain intelligence that white nationalists will still march, it seems they are preparing to supervise and observe and discipline fascism and racism . "