As the anniversary of last year’s deadly Charlottesville riots approaches, states of emergency have been declared for the city of Charlottesville, parts of Northern Virginia and the state of Virginia.
The announcement was made Wednesday as state officials detailed their preparations at a press conference. They described a massive influx of law enforcement officers, two checkpoints south of the Downtown Mall and a significant list of items banned within the perimeter. They declined, though, to detail specific security threats or whether known white supremacists and nationalists, such as rally organizer Jason Kessler, would be in the area.
More than 1,000 federal, state and local law enforcement members are expected in the area over the weekend. Officials said roughly 700 members of the Virginia State Police would be in the area and about 300 Virginia National Guard members would be on standby.
Both Market Street Park, where last year’s rally was held, and Court Square Park will be completely fenced off, according to city spokesman Brian Wheeler.
The states of emergency will allow state and city agencies to get additional resources, Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully.”
The emergency declaration mobilizes and funds resources from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard and others. Officials confirmed that the declaration of emergency also would allocate $2 million to pay for the response.
Charlottesville also has announced a security perimeter downtown that will include blocked streets, limited parking and pedestrian checkpoints. The changes will go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday.