Charlottesville city councilman Wes Bellamy attempted to diffuse the tense confrontation between the protestors and the authorities.
As protesters took to UVA's Grounds Saturday evening, members of the community reflected on the leadership of the school's administration, saying this year's events were much more peaceful than those of last August, but they have still left Charlottesville in a state of unrest.
But while she said she has put in hundreds of hours organising, "it's still unbelievable that they [white supremacists and the far right] will be here after what happened in Charlottesville". "It feels good that they're here in front of our store". "It didn't make sense a year ago, and it doesn't make sense now".
The Rev. Seth Wispelwey is a founder of a group of clergy and lay people called "Congregate C-ville" a year ago.
Saturday marked the anniversary of a night march by torch-toting white supremacists through the University of Virginia's campus a day ahead of a larger rally in Charlottesville's downtown. Controversy also surrounded the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.
Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a vehicle later barreled into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
A anti-fascist protest in Charlottesville on Saturday passed off with little trouble. A state police helicopter later crashed, killing two troopers.
The university itself said it will be hosting a "morning of reflection and renewal" to mark the anniversary.
Last year's protests began August 11 and saw hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers, accompanied by rifle-carrying men, yelling white nationalist slogans and wielding flaming torches in scenes eerily reminiscent of racist rallies held in America's South before the Civil Rights movement.
Clara Carlson was one of those counterprotesters. Trump said then the group included "fine people".
Hawk Newsome, the president of that Black Lives Matter chapter, told NPR last week that if people are "tired of the racism in America, if they're exhausted of these groups who have killed people for hundreds of years, then they should show up and stand with us in this safe space on Sunday".
Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, embraced supporters Sunday in downtown Charlottesville.
"I remember the police just standing around". Let us be in one voice and tell them that they are wrong. "I was grateful that I was able to come out of that alive".
Some community activists were concerned that this year's heavy police presence could be a counterproductive overreaction.
Charlottesville is bracing for what may come this weekend on the first anniversary of the deadly rally.
Law enforcement officials faced blistering criticism in the wake of last year's rally for what was perceived as a passive response to the violence that unfolded.
The white nationalist rally participants - a couple dozen in all, according to estimates - gathered at a subway station in northern Virginia and traveled into the nation's capital via train before disembarking in Foggy Bottom near the George Washington University campus.