Emergency declared ahead of Charlottesville anniversary

WHSV file image of a line of Virginia State Police troopers at the

Russia's Embassy in the United States has dismissed claims that Russian Federation played a role in fanning racial tensions at a violent white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia one year ago.

In Washington, all firearms will be banned from the protest site, including those legally carried by licensed gun owners, officials said.

A auto then plowed into a group of the counter-protesters, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others.

Racial tension threatens to rip open still healing wounds, one year after a white power march in Charlottesville left death and destruction in its wake.

Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, pre-emptively declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, a procedural move that freed up additional resources. Statements by some U.S. politicians about the Russian connection allegedly visible in the clashes in the city of Charlottesville on racial and social grounds a year ago are unsubstantiated allegations, the Russian Embassy in the United States said in a statement on Sunday.

Referring to Russian Federation, the congressman said, "They use events like this divisive racial fight. and this is the sort of thing they do".

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This weekend white nationalists are again planning to rally - this year outside the president's home in Washington, D.C.

Authorities faced unrelenting criticism for their handling of last year's rally and an independent review that found serious police and government failures in responding to violence at the "Unite the Right" rally. It also found a lack of preparation and coordination between state and city police and a passive response by officers to the chaos.

The rally, organized to protest plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from downtown park, quickly deteriorated into clashes, prompting officials to declare the event illegal. Later, a woman was killed when a auto drove into a crowd of people opposing the white nationalists, and dozens more were injured. James Alex Fields Jr., of OH, faces murder charges in Heyer's death. He told a judge in July that he is under treatment for several mental disorders including bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression and ADHD.

A defined security area will be established around downtown that will include security checkpoints limiting access to pedestrians.

Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney said the goal for that community is to have a peaceful weekend.