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'Unite the Right' comes to DC 1 year after rally turns deadly in Charlottesville

The 2017 rally turned tragic when a rally attendee drove into a crowd of counter-protesters and fatally struck 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured several others.

WASHINGTON -- It's been one year since a rally in Charlottesville, Va. turned violent, leaving one woman dead and 19 injured after a man rammed his car into a crowd, and now the same group that organized the rally is coming to DC.

The rally, known as Unite the Right, included neo-Nazi and alt-right members clashing with counter-protesters. The group will come together again for the 'Unite the Right 2' rally in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 12.

Last year, rally participants carried rifles, shields, neo-Nazi paraphernalia and Confederate battle flags, organizing on the heels of multiple Confederate statue removal across the country.

The 2017 rally turned tragic when a rally attendee drove into a crowd of counter-protesters and fatally struck 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured several others.

Two Virginia State Police officers also died in a helicopter crash while assisting police activity related the the rally. The pilot, 48-year-old Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, and 40-year-old Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, died at the scene.

James Alex Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, was identified as the rally attendee who drove into the crowd. He was charged with 30 counts of hate crimes in June 2018, involving the death of Heyer and the other people who were injured.

The man behind the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, applied for a permit to gather in Charlottesville on the anniversary of the first Unite the Right rally, but was denied. His application for a permit in D.C. was approved for a march from Foggy Bottom Metro station to a demonstration at Lafayette Park outside the White House.

Rally organizers say it will focus on 'white civil rights.'

“This year we have a new purpose,” Kessler said. “That’s to talk about the civil rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.”

Kessler blames the city and counter-protesters for the violence from 2017.

“It wasn’t the fault of my group that that stuff happened,” he said.

Kessler has been working with authorities and giving people coming to the rally rules to focus on keeping things safer this year.

Non-approved flags, guns, pepper spray, shields, knives and other weapons are not permitted at the rally.

Rally organizers are encouraging participants not to talk to the media or engage in any fighting.

During a July press conference, D.C. police chief Peter Newsham made it clear that all hands would be on deck to ensure that "nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt."

In addition to the alt-right groups expected to turn out, counter-protesters will also be taking to the streets that same weekend. The organizer of the Unite the Rally expects fewer people to show up to the rally than last year due to violence concerns.

Here’s what to expect out of the two gatherings in downtown DC:

According to the Unite the Right rally website, groups will be assembling at the Vienna Metro station, in Vienna Virginia at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Between 2 and 3 p.m. the group will make its way from Vienna Station to parade entrance at Foggy Bottom station. The march will begin at 5 p.m. along Pennsylvania Ave. to Lafayette Park where the demonstration will take place. The demonstration is scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the alt-right groups expected to turn out, counter-protesters will also be taking to the streets that same weekend. The organizer of the Unite the Rally expects fewer people to show up to the rally than last year due to violence concerns.

According to the Unite the Right rally website, groups will be assembling at the Vienna Metro station, in Vienna Virginia at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Between 2 and 3 p.m. the group will make its way from Vienna Station to parade entrance at Foggy Bottom station. The march will begin at 5 p.m. along Pennsylvania Ave. to Lafayette Park where the demonstration will take place. The demonstration is scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile a rally against hate, Shut It Down D.C. is scheduled to take place that same day between noon and 3 p.m. at Freedom Plaza. This group is calling on "all anti-fascists and people of good conscience" to come out and support.

The demonstrations and marches will impact traffic in the D.C. metro area. Police have put out a list of all road closures on Sunday.

The expected area that will be impacted between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. will be:

· 15th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to K Street, NW

· 17th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to K Street, NW

· 18th Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

· 19th Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

· 20th Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

· 21st Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

· 22nd Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

· 23rd Street, NW from Virginia Avenue to Washington Circle, NW

· H Street, NW from 17th Street to 15th Street, NW

· I Street, NW from 17th Street to 15th Street, NW

· K Street, NW from 17th Street to 15th Street, NW

· Connecticut Avenue, NW from H Street to I Street, NW

· Vermont Avenue, NW from H Street to I Street, NW

· G Street, NW from 17th Street to 23rd Street, NW

· F Street, NW from 17th Street to 23rd Street, NW

· E Street, NW from 17th Street to 23rd Street, NW

All street closures and listed times are subject to change based upon prevailing or unexpected conditions.

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