A counterprotester who faced down a group of white supremacists that marched through the University of Virginia’s campus last year says she’s angry at the police response to a student rally on campus marking the anniversary.
Twenty-two-year-old Clara Carlson said Saturday that the university administration “let white supremacists roll through” campus with torches last August, but is “afraid” of student protesters who are demanding change.
Carlson graduated from the university this year and helped plan a rally Saturday marking the anniversary of the confrontation last August. She says she feared for her life when a phalanx of young white men carrying torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans surrounded her and a group of her friends.
Students and other activists had gathered Saturday evening for a pre-planned rally to mark the anniversary of a campus confrontation between torch-carrying white nationalists and counterprotesters.
Demonstrators unfurled a banner that said “Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badges.”
A group of more than 200 protesters then marched to another part of campus. Students began delivering speeches over a loudspeaker.
Many in the crowd then broke away and shouted at officers in riot gear forming a line.
After a few minutes, most of the demonstrators began to walk away.
Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy says he told the police commander that the students were upset by the officer’s tactics and called the officers’ riot gear “over the top.”
More events are planned Sunday in Charlottesville to mark the anniversary of a larger gathering of white nationalists that descended into violence.
Jason Kessler, the primary organizer of last summer’s rally, has also obtained a permit for a “white civil rights” rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
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