Protesters, Anti-Fascists March Through Charlottesville on Aug. 12 Anniversary
Community members and anti-fascists marched down Preston Avenue towards the Downtown Mall with hopes of reaching the Heather Heyer memorial on Fourth Street.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” echoed through Charlottesville on Sunday on the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right Rally on August 12. Protesters set out to make sure their voices were heard and that white supremacy had no place in their city.
Community members and anti-fascists marched down Preston Avenue towards the Downtown Mall with hopes of reaching the Heather Heyer memorial on Fourth Street. Police halted the protesters on their way down Preston Avenue and faced chants of “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand” before sending the marchers on an alternate route.
After traveling down Fourth Street NW and West Main Street, the group reached the site where Heyer died and many others were injured on Fourth and Water Streets. Some members of the group elected to go through the security check into the Downtown Mall to pay respects at Heyer’s memorial while others stood outside to protest against the police.
“Let us in!” chanted the protesters at the police blocking them from the Heather Heyer memorial.
The tense standoff between police and protesters led to minor clashes between the two groups as well as members of the media who were on site, but never escalated to anything more. Four protest-related arrests were made by police on Sunday.
Before the crowd took to the streets, they met in Washington Park as part of an event organized by Standing Up for Racial Justice. Hundreds gathered to stand in solidarity against white supremacy.
Members of the group spent time reflecting on the events in Charlottesville last year on August 12 and mourned those who were injured or died, including Heather Heyer.
“She is with me today too, I just want to point out as Susan Bro has pointed out, we don’t have to die doing this work and standing up, but we do all have to stand up, show up, and fight for justice,” said Courtney Commander, a friend of Heyer.
Speakers at the event taught the crowd chants and songs they would use while protesting in the streets. Speakers also took time to tell the crowd that the fight against racial injustice is not over.
“I will fight every day that I can for you all, and with you all just to make sure that we beat back racism, oppression, and the ugliness that Kessler and his minions brought here in any way that we can,” said Charlottesville resident Don Gathers.
SURJ also wanted to remind people that some victims from last year’s violence are still in need of help in paying medical bills and asked that people donate to the Cville Resilience Fund.
“We have to start talking more on the other 29 victims…they need help, their medical bills, everything,” said Charlottesville resident Katrina Turner at the event. “If we do not talk on them, they are going to be forgotten.”
Katrina was on the streets during the riots last year and spent time on Sunday thanking the security around her for pushing her out of the way of the car that took Heyer’s life.