State and local officials prepared for the one year anniversary of the Antifa riot in Charlottesville by declaring a preemptive state of emergency for the weekend of August 11-12, 2018. The downtown pedestrian mall was fenced off, roads were blocked with dump trucks, parks and recylcing centers were closed, and a long list of "Instruments of Riot" were banned in the city. The Governor and city Police Chief were determined to prevent any violent clashes between Antifa and supporters of the Robert E. Lee statue, even though there were no permits granted for any demonstrations in the city.
On Saturday, the pedestrian mall was awash in photographers waiting for something to happen, but not much materialized. One man was arrested for buying a package of razor blades, which were on the banned item list, at the drug store. Ironically, he was open carrying a firearm, which was legal. Also on Saturday, The Lawn was cordoned off and traffic was blocked on McCormick Road at the University of Virginia. New UVA President James Ryan gave an address in Old Cabell Hall titled “The Hope That Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal.”
On Sunday, the grounds at UVA were virtually empty. Around 2 pm, a small prayer group met at the steps of The Rotunda in preparation for a walk to the downtown site where Heather Heyer died in last year's riot. Bishop Harry Jackson, who had met with President Trump earlier in the week, spoke to the prayer group and offered hope for better race relations.
Meanwhile, downtown, clergy and protesters faced off with police at the corner of Water Street and Honorary Heather Heyer Way. In the absence of any political opponents, the protesters vented their anger at the police, and shouted "Why are you in riot gear, ain't no riot here!" Around 3:30 pm, a light rain began to fall, and the protesters began to leave the area. Police were vacating the site by 4 pm, and the dump trucks blocking Water Street were being driven away.
In total, UVA President James Ryan got to declare himself opposed to Nazis, the clergy got to confront the police, and the police had a chance to show who was in control. The weekend drama had something for everyone. Now the tax payers will have to foot the bill.
Gear Photos were shot with a Nikon D750 paired with either a Zeiss Milvus 35 mm f/2.0 or a Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6.