Mother of Heather Heyer makes emotional visit to Charlottesville one year on

The mother of a woman who was run down and killed during a right-wing rally in Charlottesville one year ago made an emotional visit to the scene today.

Heather Heyer, 32, died when a car allegedly driven by Ohio man James Fields ploughed into her and other counter-protesters who were marching against the Unite the Right gathering of white nationalists in the Virginia city.

Today, hundreds of people took to the streets of Charlottesville for a one-year anniversary, where they were joined by Ms Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro.

Laying flowers at the spot where her daughter died, she was hugged by some tearful members of the crowd.

Afterwards, she told reporters her daughter would want people to "focus on the issues" rather than her death and said there was still a "long way to go".

Asked how she had remained strong during the past year, Ms Bro said: "How can you not be?

"My daughter had a mission and it’s my job to complete that mission."

Ms Bro went on: "We have a huge racial problem in our city and our country. We have got to fix this, or we’ll be right back here in no time."

She added that President Donald Trump’s comments this weekend where he condemned racism were "better than a year ago" when he was slammed for saying there were "very fine people" on both sides.

Today’s event was marked by a huge police presence and Mrs Bro was given an escort of officers when she arrived.

Traffic was blocked from a large area of the city, while pedestrians were searched for weapons.

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Earlier this morning, activist Grace Aheron, 27, donned a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and joined hundreds of fellow Charlottesville residents who gathered at Booker T Washington Park to mark the anniversary of last year’s bloodshed.

She told the crowd: "We want to claim our streets back, claim our public space back, claim our city back."

Yesterday evening, hundreds of of students and activists took to the streets, with many directing their anger at the heavy police presence.

Some chanted "cops and Klan go hand in hand" after police were harshly criticised for their failure to prevent the violence.

In Washington today, police were bracing for a white nationalist rally organised to coincide with the anniversary.

The Unite the Right 2 event was set to take place at 9.30pm (GMT) in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.

Several demonstrations by counter-protesters, who were expected to outnumber the white nationalists, were due to be held nearby.

Authorities have promised an enormous police presence to keep both sides apart and avoid the street brawls that broke out last year in downtown Charlottesville.

Sean Kratouil, a 17-year-old who lives in Maryland, was wearing a vest with "Antifa" on the back and said he was there
to help start a movement of peaceful anti-fascists.

He said he was concerned that when rallies turn violent, it makes his side look bad. "Public perception is key," he said.

Counter-protesters also gathered near the Washington suburban metro station of Vienna, Virginia, where about 20 white
nationalists carrying American flags were escorted by police as they prepared to board trains to the city.

The organiser of Unite the Right 2, Virginia activist and blogger Jason Kessler, led the contingent.

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