Metro Detroit gathers to decry Charlottesville white supremacist rally

People all over metro Detroit came together in solidarity over the weekend to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia. 

Hundreds gathered in Campus Martius Sunday. Many carried signs, urging people to speak in a united voice against white supremacy.

Police Chief James Craig was one of many police officers at the demonstration

"This was a peaceful gathering; there were no issues. That's what we're here for, and that's what police officers do in many cities; they just want to make sure the people are safe. It's tragic what happened in Virginia," he said. "Someone lost their life; two police officers lost their lives. That's tragic."

There were no incidents of violence reported during the rally.

Also on Sunday, dozens of people from diverse backgrounds gathered at the United Methodist Church in Ferndale. Attendees signed a large banner that's now hanging in front of the church, saying "love is bigger." We're told many were eager to start a dialogue and to share their thoughts on what took place in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville descended into violence Saturday after neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to "take America back" and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town, and hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. A Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town. Both troopers on board died.

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who attended the rally, denied all responsibility for the violence. He blamed the counter-protesters and police.

Trump faces pressure, criticism after Charlottesville

Trump condemned what he called an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," a statement that Democrats and some of the president's fellow Republicans saw as equivocating about who was to blame. The White House later added that the condemnation "includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups." 

Some of the white nationalists at Saturday's rally cited Trump's victory, after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric, as validation for their beliefs. Some of the people protesting Sunday also point to the president and his campaign, saying they gave license to racist hatred that built into what happened in Charlottesville.

Gatherings and candlelight vigils also took place in several major U.S. cities Sunday, such as New York and Seattle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report