President Trump's words against racism 'ring hollow': Top Democrat

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US President Donald Trump, often accused of denigrating non-white people, condemned racism Saturday as the nation marked the anniversary of deadly unrest triggered by a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also did not mention a white nationalist demonstration planned for Sunday in the capital. Thirty-two-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed by self-described white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr., who rammed a vehicle into a crowd at high speed. And critics said their delayed response contributed to clashes between white supremacists and neo-Nazis and counterprotesters.

The tweet appeared to echo his equivocations after last year's violence when he blamed "many sides" for the violence and said there were "very fine people" on both sides.

A group anti-fascism demonstrators march in the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally.

Criticism came from within Trump's administration, including from Gary Cohn, at the time the president's economic adviser. Those statements drew widespread condemnation from Jewish leaders, Democrats and Republicans.

The chance of that kind of spontaneous mayhem has led to weeks of planning between Washington's law enforcement agencies, which have developed proposals to guard marches leading to the rally and the rally itself, as well as deal with any confrontations that precede or follow it in the streets of Washington.

The president is at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course, and isn't scheduled to return to Washington until Monday. "We don't see a riot here", they chanted.

District law states you can't deny service to anyone based on political affiliation, but when it comes to behavior that threatens a protected class, D.C. law does allow businesses to deny services. Guns will be forbidden near the rally site, regardless of whether an individual has a permit to carry the firearm. This Sunday, the same group will be hosting another gathering in Washington, DC.

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It was a dramatic shift in tone from previous year, when he said there was "blame on both sides" for the violence that broke out when white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of Confederate statutes and marched through town shouting racist slurs.

"We still have a lot of things to do in this city", said King.

"It couldn't have possibly been worse than Charlottesville - they weren't just incompetent, they were malicious", Kessler said of the authorities in Virginia.

All 650 tickets for the event, what U.Va. calls a "morning of reflection" have been sold, but the University will livestream the event on its Facebook page.

As the anniversary of last year's deadly Charlottesville riots approaches, states of emergency have been declared for the city of Charlottesville, parts of Northern Virginia and the state of Virginia.

They were met by a large police presence and a secure perimeter downtown, as well as numerous street closures and parking restrictions as part of an effort to prevent any violent outbreak. An anti-racism group, the Answer Coalition, was granted a permit in Lafayette Square for a group more than three times the size of Unite the Right's. "I certainly predict that they will be much more professional and much more even-handed and do much more to contribute to safety", he said.

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