Washington is bracing for a white nationalist rally that law enforcement agencies will try to prevent from descending into a melee like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, that cast a shadow over Donald Trump's presidency a year ago.
But on Saturday, he tweeted: "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division".
He then condemned all types of racism and acts of violence.
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.
Concrete barriers and metal fences had been erected, and police were searching bags at two checkpoints where people could enter or leave.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam and the city both declared states of emergency, citing the "potential impacts of events" in Charlottesville during the anniversary weekend.
The city says law enforcement at the access points are conducting consensual checks for objects that were banned as a security measure during the weekend anniversary of last summer's violence.
But Jason Kessler, who organised last year's rally, is gearing up for a second iteration in Washington, DC, on Sunday.
There are six separate counter-protests planned throughout the day on Sunday, but most people will likely converge at the early-evening "Unite the Right" rally in Lafayette Park, which is across the street from the White House.
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The mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was hit by a auto and killed last year, has also spoken publicly leading up to the anniversary.
Several counter-protester organizers have also planned out events.
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.
Among the remembrance events scheduled for Saturday was a "morning of reflection and renewal" at UVA that featured musical performances, a poetry reading and an address from University President James Ryan. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) says the action would encourage its 3 million members to share messages of unity and call out white supremacy on social media.
Lisa Woolfork, a University of Virginia professor and Black Lives Matter Charlottesville organizer, told the Associated Press that police are mounting a "huge, overwhelming show of force to compensate for last year's inaction".
Trump also tweeted Saturday about his record in lowering the unemployment rate among African Americans and addressing criminal justice reform.
Carlson said police didn't intervene to help her or her friends that night previous year.
Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, who's spent much of the past year working with Wilson on a foundation named for her daughter, said she plans to place flowers Sunday at the site of the attack that claimed Heyer's life.
The emergency declaration mobilizes and funds resources from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard and others.
It is not clear whether any white nationalists will come to Charlottesville this weekend, but officials said they were preparing for any contingency. The city attorney took a new job, the city manager's contract was not renewed, a spokeswoman quit and the police chief, 50 at the time, retired after less than two years on the job.