"How does that create a sense of community?"
"We 100 percent are going to make sure the groups remain separate", Newsham added, noting that Secret Service are working closely with local police.
At the time, President Donald Trump said there were "very fine people" on both sides, spurring criticism from across the political divide that he was equating the counterprotesters with the rally attendees, who included neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.
A protester confronts riot gear-clad police.
After a few minutes, most demonstrators began walking away.
Despite heightened emotions and frustration over the police presence, the city reports no arrests and no violent outbreaks. The rest of the evening remained quiet.
In the popular downtown shopping district Saturday morning, law enforcement officers outnumbered visitors. Deploying riot police along the security perimeter, law enforcement went on to erect concrete barriers and metal fences before setting up entry points with metal detectors to screen rally participants.
The original Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was to oppose plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park. Some leading figures in the USA white nationalist movement have said they won't attend or have encouraged supporters to stay away.
The group then moved the rally to a neighboring lawn saying they didn't feel safe in the "cage", referring to the barricaded rotunda area. Previous year was a whole different story. "It looked like a war zone previous year".
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August 12 marks the day when members of the alt-right and white supremacist groups protested Charlottesville's decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. Though there were no white nationalist events scheduled, many feared a repeat of a year ago, when authorities were blasted for being underprepared for the violence that broke out.
Flowers lay where Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others injured when a vehicle slammed into a crowd of people protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. She later said the comments "had nothing to do with race or ethnicity". On Saturday night, she was angry at the police response to the student rally. "I was grateful that I was able to come out of that alive".
Authorities have promised an enormous police presence to keep both sides apart and avoid the street brawls that broke out previous year in downtown Charlottesville.
"Last year, I was afraid of the Nazis. This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork fumed.
"It couldn't have possibly been worse than Charlottesville - they weren't just incompetent, they were malicious", Kessler said of the authorities in Virginia.
"We have a lot of folks in organizing here who were present for the murder of the young woman past year", Lance said.
Kessler had applied for a permit to hold his anniversary rally in Charlottesville, and had sued the city when they denied him the permit, but he dropped his battle with the city in late July. Events marking the anniversary are expected in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C.
Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told The Associated Press that she'd been dreading the first anniversary of her daughter's death and compared losing a child to standing in shallow water as waves repeatedly roll in. Don't respond to the violence if you can protect yourself without it and do not let your guard down, ' she told CBS News. "Every police action that you will see on Sunday will be done with the ultimate goal of ensuring the safety of everyone that attends", he said.