"We're gonna live our lives, you know", Talley Tillack, who came out to the mall Friday night, said. But, he added, "The state police is fully prepared to act on any inciteful violence".
A state of emergency is a tool that allows state agencies to perform actions outside the scope of their normal operations in order to ensure all necessary resources and assistance are provided to local governments and residents.
The Downtown Business Association says at least 15 shops down on the mall will be open Saturday.
Concrete barriers and metal fences were put up and police were searching bags at checkpoints.
Unite the Right was the high point of the alt-right, the loosely knit coalition of white nationalist, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that surged during Donald Trump's presidential campaign and celebrated his victory.
Multiple counter-protestors told The Hill that they feel this year's events are accompanied by a greater sense of urgency around issues of racism and white supremacy, given the Trump administration hard-line immigration policies and tendency to stoke the fires of cultural wars.
Following last year's heated rally, Trump spurred controversy saying "I think there is blame on both sides" for Charlottesville's deadly violence. Later, a woman was killed when a vehicle drove into a crowd of people opposing the white nationalists, and dozens more were injured.
The city is expecting large crowds to honor Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed when a auto rammed into a packed street of counter-protesters in downtown Charlottesville on August 12 2017.
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Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, now running for the US Senate from Utah, said in an essay published at the weekend that he disagreed with Trump's declaration that many "good people" had taken part on the white nationalist side of the Charlottesville event.
"I was told, 'Yes, it did.' I was asked if this was classified, they said, 'No, it is not.' I waited until today", he explained.
Ryan recalled how a group of students and community members faced off against the white supremacists near a statue of Thomas Jefferson on campus, calling it a "remarkable moment of courage and bravery". The driver, James Alex Fields, has been indicted on federal hate-crime and state murder charges.
There was significant police presence in Charlottesville in anticipation of the day's events, with hundreds of people arriving by the afternoon, according to the city. A "Rally for Justice" was also scheduled in the evening.
Sunday is the anniversary of the violence that erupted on the streets of Charlottesville, where hundreds of rally participants gathered to protest the city's plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park that was named after the Confederate general.
Kessler had applied for a permit to hold his anniversary rally in Charlottesville, and had sued the city when they denied him the permit, but he dropped his battle with the city in late July.
Mark Lance, a philosophy professor at Georgetown University and an organizer of some of Sunday's planned the counter-demonstrations, said Kessler's call for "white civil rights" was meant to obscure the beliefs of those that rallied in Charlottesville.
Trump insulted the intelligence of National Basketball Association star LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon, both of whom are black, reignited his crusade against black football players protesting against police brutality and told a group of business leaders that Chinese students studying in the United States were spies.