Virginia governor urges folks to avoid extremist right-wing rally

Ahead of a planned "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe told residents to avoid the gathering, which could bring large numbers of white nationalists and counter-protesters to the city.
By Ian Marsh | Aug 15, 2017
Ahead of a planned "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe told residents to avoid the gathering, which could bring large numbers of white nationalists and counter-protesters to the city.

"In advance of [Saturday's] rally there have been communications from extremist groups, many of which are located outside of Virginia, who may seek to commit acts of violence against rally participants or law enforcement officials," said McAuliffe in a written statement, as reported by WTVR.com. "In the event that such violent or unlawful conduct occurs, I have instructed state public safety officials to act quickly and decisively to keep the public and themselves safe. I want to urge my fellow Virginians who may consider joining either in support or opposition to the planned rally to make alternative plans."

The governor said state police would handle response to the rally and the Virginia National Guard would be on stand-by. He also noted that while many people find the rally organizers' views distasteful, they have a constitutional right to express them.

"Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent," McAuliffe said. "As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right. But it is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve."

City residents jammed City Hall in July demanding cancellation of the rally.

"I can very easily see this just eroding and erupting throughout the streets of Charlottesville and putting our citizens in danger," said Don Gathers, at the time. "A five-hour block with 400 angry folks coming in spewing just hatred and vitriol can truly be a problem and I don't know how you can control that."

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