Counterprotesters expected to dwarf white supremacists in DC

Businesses say they'll refuse service to Unite the Right attendees in DC

Sunday's demonstrations and the opposing rallies are taking place in an atmosphere of heightened racial tension.

The organizer of last year's rally, Jason Kessler, had vowed to hold a rally in a park near the White House on August 12 after Charlottesville denied him a permit.

On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a auto driven into a crowd struck and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides", Trump said, following the events. "And while people don't want alt-right white men in khaki trousers and polo shirts, you know, walking through town, and they want to make it clear that they don't identify there, they have been very comfortable with racism and how it plagues the community".

Criticism came from within Trump's administration, including from Gary Cohn, at the time the president's economic adviser. Those statements drew widespread condemnation from Jewish leaders, Democrats and Republicans.

Trump's remarks also led to a series of business leaders announcing they would exit a council providing assistance to the administration. White House aides also say Trump loves the attack on NFL players kneeling for the national anthem and seeks out reasons and stories to tweet about it.

The president is at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course, and isn't scheduled to return to Washington until Monday.

Security services in the DC area have been put on high alert for Sunday's event.

The various groups have different, and ever-changing, plans for their transportation routes and the paths of possible marches, but the major hub of activity will be based around Lafayette Park. "We don't see no riot here", activists chanted Saturday evening.

"Our goal is to prevent that from occurring. This year, I'm afraid of the police", Woolfork said.

Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers will endeavor to keep far-right demonstrators and counterprotesters separate from one another.

Rally organizers encouraged supporters to bring only USA or Confederate flags - not neo-Nazi emblems - and cautioned them not to react angrily to counter protesters.

"It couldn't have possibly been worse than Charlottesville - they weren't just incompetent, they were malicious", Kessler said of the authorities in Virginia. "We really have not treated people of color in the same way we ourselves want to be treated".

White nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville past year, billing it as a protest over the removal of a statue honoring a commander of the Confederate Army, the losing side in the US Civil War.

The city is closing downtown streets and public parks and restricting access to a downtown "security area", where visitors are prohibited from wearing masks or carrying certain items, including skateboards, catapults, glass bottles, bats and knives.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Peter Cvjetanovic, right, appears with neo-Nazis, alt-right supporters and white nationalists holding tiki torches and chanting at counterprotesters in Virginia on August 11, 2017. Officials and law enforcement authorities insist that whatever happens, they will be better prepared.

A counterprotester was killed when a man who police say identified himself as a Nazi drove a vehicle into a crowd.

The rest of the day had been much quieter, with some residents and businesses expressing that they felt calmer with the police presence in town.

After the rally and then in the months that followed, the commission met several times.

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