Tense confrontation amid peaceful vigils one year after white supremacist rally in Charlottesville

The city of Charlottesville marked the anniversary of last year's white supremacist violence that sent ripples through the country with largely peaceful vigils and other events, but police had a brief, tense confrontation with demonstrators angry over the heavy security presence there this weekend.

A group anti-fascism demonstrators march in the downtown area in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally. Source: Associated Press

"Why are you in riot gear? We don't see no riot here," activists chanted Saturday evening (local time).

Shortly before a planned evening rally to mark the anniversary of a campus confrontation between torch-carrying white nationalists and counterprotesters, activists unfurled a banner that said, "Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badges."

Demonstrators carry banners in front of the Rotunda on the campus of the University of Virginia. Source: Associated Press

A group of more than 200 protesters — students, residents and others — then marched to another part of the University of Virginia's campus, where many in the crowd shouted at officers in riot gear forming a line.

A group of anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter demonstrators march in front of the Rotunda on the campus of the University of Virginia. Source: Associated Press

Kibiriti Majuto, a coordinator for UVA Students United, said the students moved to another part of campus because they didn't want to be "caged" in the area where the planned rally area.

Mr Majuto said police "were not on our side" last year when white supremacists surrounded counter-protesters on the rotunda.

"Cops and Klan go hand in hand," he said.

State Police patrol the road in front of Market Street park with the state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Source: Associated Press

Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy said he tried to diffuse the situation and told the police commander that students were upset by the officers' tactics, with "over-the-top" riot gear.

After a few minutes, most demonstrators began walking away. There were no immediate reports of arrests on campus.

At some point after the UVA rally, dozens of demonstrators marched off campus through other parts of the city, chanting "Whose streets? Our streets" and "Who do you protect? Who do you serve?"

A group of anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter demonstrators march on the campus of the University of Virginia. Source: Associated Press

The group made its way to downtown before dispersing.

The rest of the day had been much quieter.

In the downtown shopping district this morning, officers outnumbered visitors. Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police searched bags at two checkpoints.

"It's nice that they're here to protect us," said Lara Mitchell, 66, who works at a shop selling artwork, jewelry, and other items.

"It feels good that they're here in front of our store. Last year was a whole different story. It looked like a war zone last year."

On August 12, hundreds of white nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city's decision to remove a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park.

State Police patrol the road in front of Market Street park with the state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee as they lock down the downtown area. Source: Associated Press

Fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters that day. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later barreled into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor's motorcade crashed, killing two troopers.

A protester confronts riot gear-clad police on the campus of the University of Virginia during a rally to mark the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally. Source: Associated Press



Wanted man who escaped police custody arrested after AOS callout in South Auckland

Armed police and the AOS were called out to an area in South Auckland today following sightings of a wanted man who allegedly pointed a pistol at a police officer earlier today.

Darcy Hayes, 48, was on the run after escaping police custody at Auckland District Court last Tuesday. 

Mr Hayes was found hiding under a house in McKean Avenue when a member of the public alerted police. 

A dog squad was sent in to retrieve Mr Hayes, who is again under police custody. 

Pedestrians were been advised to avoid the area and motorists have been encouraged to use alternative routes.


The AOS surrounded a Manurewa property following reports of a man with a gun, soon after Darcy Hayes was arrested. Source: 1 NEWS

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Family of US man presumed dead after crashing stolen plane left 'devastated'

The family of Richard 'Beebo' Russell, the man who stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport, made an official comment today.

Spokesman Mike Mathews read a prepared statement expressing the family's grief and shock at Mr Russell's death.

Authorities today said a 29-year-old man used a machine called a pushback tractor to first maneuver the aircraft so he could board and then take off yesterday evening.

He was presumably killed about an hour later when the aircraft crashed into a small island southwest of Seattle.

The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy."

An air traffic controller called the man "Rich," and tried to convince the man to land the airplane.

Richard Russell’s family described him as “a warm, compassionate man”. Source: Associated Press